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Immigration - Letters from the Otey Mesa Detention Center

Immigration - Letter from Detention Center - Otay Mesa -

By Kevin Ayala - Law Clerk


37 Migrants at Otay Mesa Immigration Detention Center, a migrant center run by CCA signed a handwritten letter May 30, 2018 detailing their grievances with Otay Mesa and with thier experiences there. The letter was posted to the Pueblos Sin Fronteras, covered by American media as "People without borders". The letters a formally stylized, including opening and closing remarks, bulleted points, and references to CCA, and ICE regulations, particularly Article 12 on pg 32 of their orientation manual.


The Migrants detail how they've been mistreated and harmed by CCA regulations and the immigration process as a whole. They start with working conditions, claiming they work six hours a day for $1.50, are threatened with being reported and having their cases harmed by not taking "voluntary work." They go on to further specify that, while they complied with all CCA internal regulations, their reports go unheard.


Stories of the fallen:


Roxana Hernandez, a 23-year-old trans woman from Honduras. She came to the U.S seeking asylum, fleeing persecution for being trans and HIV positive.  She arrived on May 9thand was denied medical care when she informed the staff of her condition. Eventually they had to transfer her to an emergency room where she was diagnosed with severe dehydration and chronic pneumonia. On May 17, she was again transported to an emergency room, this time in ICE custody, she passed at that hospital May 25. 


Claudia Gomez Gonzalez, a migrant from Guatemala fled mistreatment by authorities and gangs. The letter says the border patrol fired on her when she ran away from them, killing her. 


There's a brief closing statement (loosely translated below), and with a handwritten copy of Article 12 from the detainee's Admin & Orientation Manual, which says in part: "migrants are allowed to present their grievances directly to DHS and OIG at any time, and includes the number for DHS, and says migrants can also mail the OIG c/o DHS." It does not include the mailing address of the DHS. 


Nosotros no habiamos querido denuciar estos anomallas por represalias contra nosotros, pero ya queremos que pare esta situacion y rogamos alos paises que se encuentran dentro de la convection de derechos humanos que donde esta la protection al ser humano. 


We didn't want to denounce these anomalies because of the retaliation. But we want this situation to stop; and we want to pray [ask] all the countries that champion human rights, where are our rights as human beings?


Comunicado De Otay Mesa


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