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AMOR attempts to contact ICE detainees held at Wyatt Detention Center



“The ending of the ICE contract at the Wyatt is a hollow victory if it is not accompanied by support for those currently detained, with a focus on getting people out of ICE custody. Simply transferring people to another state is not a just solution.”

AMOR (Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance) held signs and blared messages on a loudspeaker outside the Wyatt Detention Center Sunday evening in an effort to contact the undocumented asylum seekers detained by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) inside. AMOR is an alliance of grassroots organizations, providing community support in Rhode Island and southern New England for victims of hate crimes and state-sponsored violence.

Two large banners were unfurled, with a phone number emblazoned on them. If called, the number will allow those detained inside an opportunity to request legal services, which AMOR will provide through their network of volunteer attorneys. The recording on the loudspeaker broadcast the number so that those inside the prison might hear the number. (Note: In the pictures and video below I blurred out and silenced the actual phone number, at the request of AMOR, so that the number might only be used by the detainees.)

About three dozen people showed up to support AMOR and rally outside the prison, and the entire event lasted about an hour.

“We are pleased that the Wyatt Board voted on Friday to end their contract with ICE. This is an important step towards a world without ICE and without prisons,” said AMOR director Catarina Lorenzo, as translated by volunteer Natalie Lerner. “However, we remain concerned about the fate of ICE detainees currently being held at the Wyatt. During their time in Rhode Island they have had no access to legal counsel. In addition, more than 60 people who were being held at the Wyatt have already signed voluntary departure papers which we believe may be due to pressure from ICE and lack of access to legal support. Now, all detainees remaining at the Wyatt will be moved within seven days. Again, likely to a place far from their loved ones, still with no guarantee of access to legal counsel.”

“The ending of the ICE contract at the Wyatt is a hollow victory if it is not accompanied by support for those currently detained, with a focus on getting people out of ICE custody,” continued Lorenzo. “Simply transferring people to another state is not a just solution. Therefore we ask that Central Falls politicians and the Rhode Island legal community work to gain immediate access to the Wyatt so that detainees may access legal, pastoral and other community support before they are transferred. We also demand that ICE expedite their vetting processes for visitors to allow those in detention immediate access to support.”

“As an organization, AMOR cares first and foremost about the lives of directly impacted people. We are here for our communities and that includes those currently detained by ICE within the Wyatt. We will continue to do all we can to support them and we urge our politicians to do the same.”

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About the Author

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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