As Hurricane Dolly pounds parts of the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas today, major concerns exist about the potential evacuation of the thousands of immigrant detainees and prisoners being held in the area. Up to 4,200 detainees are held in several detention centers for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Marshals Service in the Valley, including up to 1,200 ICE detainees at the Port Isabel Detention Center, a capacity of 3,000 at the MTC's Willacy County Proccessing Center in Raymondville, as well as more than 500 U.S. Marshals detainees at the Willacy County Regional Detention Center and state and county prisoners held at other prison facilities in the area. Significant concerns about the evacuation and treatment of these detainees exist including:
1) ICE has announced the evacuation of the PIDC detainees but has not announced whether the Raymondville detainees are being evacuated. This is of special concern because 2,000 of the Raymondville detainees reside pods made of window-less Kevlar tents, which are unproved in Hurricane-like weather conditions.We'll keep you posted on developments from Hurricane Dolly. If you have any news and/or information regarding the evacuation, lack of evacuation, lack of medical care or other issues with evacuation, please let us know.
2) We've heard that female detainees from Port Isabel are being transfered to Laredo, and that male detainees are being transferred to facilities around the country. Have their family members and lawyers been contacted in advance about the transfer of their clients to other facilities?
3) A large number of detainees with mental illnesses are held at the PIDC. In light of recent reports of some immigrant detainees being drugged in transit and a general lack of mental health and medical care at many ICE detention facilities across the country, it's important to ask if these detainees receiving mental health treatment during their evacuation and if they are being drugged during their transit.