LaSalle ICE Processing Center, Jena, Louisiana
March 23 and March 25, 2020

Immigrant detainees at the LaSalle ICE Processing Center staged two protests last week in response to concerns over the potential spread of COVID-19 in their facility, according to government documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.

The first protest occurred on Monday, March 23. The details of the protest are unclear at this point, but according to the documents guards shot “pepper balls” at a group of 23 protesting detainees.

On Wednesday, March 25, following a meeting held by ICE medical officials and officials with GeoGroup, the private prison corporation that operates the facility, a large group of at least 75 detainees staged some sort of protest. According to BuzzFeed news, “a group of detainees began protesting and ignored the guards’ orders. Soon after, four detainees rushed an exit door. The guards decided to use pepper spray to keep the other 75 detainees in the area, according to the document.”

ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox confirmed the incident to BuzzFeed News, saying detainees “refused to comply with directives from facility staff and four attempted to force their way out of the housing area.”

Alexandra Seo, whose mother is detained at the facility, told BuzzFeed News, “They are freaking out about it. She is saying ‘help her’ she is begging for help.”

 

Citations:

“Immigrants Afraid of the Coronavirus Outbreak Are Protesting Inside ICE Facilities”, Buzzfeed News, March 26, 2020.

 

Article published: 3/29/2020

Header Photo Source: Free Manuel Duran