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Reactions to Wyatt Dentention Center crisis



The Rhode Island Immigrant Coalition[note]The member organizations of the Rhode Island Immigrant Coalition include ACLU of Rhode Island, AMOR RI, ARISE, CASO, College Visions, Crossroads, DARE, Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, Dorcas International Institute of RI, Economic Progress Institute, Family Service of Rhode Island, Fuerza Laboral, Latino Policy Institute, The Learning Community, The Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, Lista Mundial, ONA, Planned Parenthood of SNE, Pro Bono Collaborative, Progreso Latino, Providence Student Union, PrYSM, RI Center for Justice, RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence, RI Coalition for Children and Families, RI Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty, RI Jobs with Justice, RI KIDS Count, RI State Council of Churches, RI Working Families Party, RWU Immigration Law Clinic, SEIU RI State Council, Sojourner House, Truth in Immigration Project and the Refugee Dream Center.[/note], a group (listed below) of more than thirty community organizations and agencies organized to support immigrants in Rhode Island, opposes the detention of immigrants at the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls and is calling for the

  • Revocation of the contract with ICE for detention of immigrants at the Wyatt Detention Center; and that
  • Detained immigrants’ immediate access to legal, pastoral, health, social and human services, and basic human rights.

Last Friday the Rhode Island ACLU revealed that the facility is holding more than 100 ICE detainees and that there is a contract with ICE to hold up to 225 detainees.

“In addition to the critical concerns regarding the detention of immigrants and the welfare of immigrants detained, the Coalition calls for the closure of the Wyatt Detention Center.”

The United States Conference of Mayors President, Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Steve Benjamin has also chimed in on the Issue of Wyatt, placing the situation within the wider context of the United States’ broken immigration system:

“Our nation is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis along the Southern border, and it is spreading to cities across the nation,” said Benjamin. “While the crisis is most serious in El Paso, where federal and local authorities have neither the resources nor the facilities to handle the current influx of asylum seekers and other immigrants, it is being felt as far away as Central Falls, Rhode Island where ICE is sending more than 200 detainees to be housed in a local jail. We stand with El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa and the mayors of all of the cities that have been impacted by this crisis and who must respond to it.

“In the short term, Congress needs to provide emergency funding to support federal and local agencies as they try to accommodate the increasing number of people crossing the border and requesting asylum. In the long term, Congress and the Administration need to get to the root of the problem and fix our broken immigration system.”

James Diossa

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Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.

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