by Tarik Minor
“Andrea Jacoski is the director for Americans for Immigrant Justice, whose law firm assisted in coauthoring the federal complaint calling for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to shutter the federal facility. Spoiled and rotten food, a lack of hygiene products and non-drinkable water documented in the complaint are among the injustices immigrant advocates want the public to know about.
‘A specific client of our law firm who was involved in a guard-involved altercation, or an officer attempted to physically assault her, and other guards had to restrain this officer from attacking our client,’ Jacoski told the News4JAX I-TEAM on Tuesday. ‘And that was even before she came out publicly and was part of the named report, or became a name complainant in our report, and so there’s fear now that she, among others who have decided really to be part of this report, what could happen to them.’
Jacoski says the abuse intensified after about 100 people began a hunger strike in response to the inhumane conditions in May.
In retaliation, according to the complaint, inmates allege they were banned from external communications, the water to some of the jail cells was shut off, they were unable to flush their toilets, and women were forced to use socks as sanitary napkins.
Jacoski says those who reported the abuse are fearful for their lives, after calling a national immigration hotline. She says ICE has been aware of the treatment for months now and refuses to do anything about it.
‘It’s clear that over the years, ICE and Baker have been unable to treat people humanely, detain them and respect their basic human rights,’ Jacoski said. ‘And we’ve also seen that ICE has kind of turned a blind eye to what’s going on and in doing so ignored their own standards, ignored their own requirements.’”