Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center, Pine Prairie, Louisiana
July 27 – August 3, 2019
Guards deployed pepper spray after more than 100 immigrant detainees held a demonstration in the prison yard at Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center, a privately run ICE detention Facility owned by GEO Group. The event comes just a day after ICE detainees were pepper-sprayed during a disturbance at another Louisiana facility and a month after a hunger strike at a third Louisiana ICE facility.
According to ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox, a “group of ICE detainees refused to depart the outdoor recreation area at the Pine Prairie facility Friday evening.”
“After repeated attempts by facility staff and ICE personnel to disperse the group and restore orderly operation of the facility, a brief, calculated use of pepper spray was employed Saturday morning.” He further stated that there were no injuries as a result of the disturbance.
The immigrant advocacy group, Freedom for Immigrants, which fights to end immigrant detention, refuted the claim that there were no injuries. According to the group, 115 immigrant detainees who had been on hunger strike for over 5 days were “tear gassed, shot at with rubber bullets, beaten, placed in solitary confinement, and blocked from contacting their families or attorneys.”
The group posted photos showing detainees with bruises that they say are the result of being shot with rubber bullets.
ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox denied that rubber bullets were used at the facility and would not confirm that the photo shared by Freedom for Immigrants came from within the facility.
Yanet Diaz, whose nephew Lisvani Perez Serrano participated in the hunger strike at Pine Prairie after being transferred from Mississippi to Louisiana, released the following statement to Freedom For Immigrants:
“My son-in-law passed his credible fear interview and was granted parole. He was told by officials that he would be released in 15 days, but they deceived him. Instead they transferred him to Pine Prairie where he has been mistreated. They haven’t informed him about his case and he is constantly being threatened. He and the other detained men had no other option but to go on hunger strike. Soon after, guards attacked them with pepper spray and beat them. They shot rubber bullets at them, threw them on the floor and locked them up in solitary confinement. It’s hard to communicate with them. They have been on hunger strike for more than six days and many of them have been hospitalized. We demand that they be released and that their immigration cases are fairly processed. And if it’s possible, we demand that they get a new immigration judge because the judge in Louisiana is racist and does not truly review cases, but denies them all.”
The day before the incident at Pine Prairie, guards at Bossier Medium Security Facility pepper-sprayed a group of 30 immigrant detainees during a protest there.
“More Than 100 Immigrants Were Pepper-Sprayed At An ICE Facility“, BuzzFeed News, August 6, 2019.
“BREAKING: As Hunger Strikes Erupt Nationwide In ICE Detention, Immigrants Subjected To Retaliation and Excessive Force“, Freedom for Immigrants, August 6, 2019.
“‘More than 100’ immigrants tear gassed by ICE in US detention centre“, The Independent, August 8, 2019.
“Hunger Strike at River Correctional Facility, Louisiana“, Perilous, July 9, 2019.
“Hunger Strike and Protest at Bossier Medium Security Facility, Louisiana“, Perilous, July 26, 2019.