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New Civil Rights Complaint Details Inadequate Care, Abusive Treatment at Farmville Detention Center

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Posted: May. 13, 2024

For Immediate Release 
May 13, 2024

Arianna Rosales,

Washington, DC–The National Immigration Project, Legal Aid Justice Center, and National Immigrant Justice Center today submitted a civil rights complaint on behalf of Manuel*, an individual facing abusive and negligent conditions in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Farmville Detention Center. The complaint details how Manuel’s health and safety are at risk, and requests an investigation into violations of ICE’s basic standards, guidance, and disability law, based on the inadequate care, substandard nutrition, and misuse of solitary confinement that Manuel has endured. 

“I was sent to segregation, which is a form of solitary confinement, and had to stay there for about two months as punishment,” said Manuel, the complainant. “There’s no TV, no one to speak to, and nothing to do in detention. I felt alone, desperate, that I was falsely accused. I tried to pass the time and I could go out for an hour a day, but I was too afraid, because I was scared of some of the other people in detention.”

The complaint expands upon the longstanding pattern of abuse, discrimination, and neglect at Farmville Detention Center. It calls for an immediate investigation into the abusive conditions and neglect occurring within the detention center as well as the swift release of Manuel to protect him from further abuse and so that he is able to obtain the care he needs. 

“Manuel’s experience in ICE custody underscores a long and damning track record of abuse and mistreatment at Farmville Detention Center,” said Yulie Landan, Justice Catalyst Fellow at the National Immigration Project. “We call on DHS to immediately investigate this abusive treatment and also urge ICE to exercise its discretion and release Manuel to the community so that he can receive the care he needs. Ultimately, we know the experiences documented in this complaint are emblematic of a detention system that is inherently inhumane and flawed beyond repair, and we will continue fighting to end this cruel and harmful system.”

“Manuel’s experience is not unique. Many of my clients have endured questionable uses of solitary confinement and spoiled food all while trying to exercise their rights to pursue asylum,” said Elizabeth Schmelzel, Senior Supervising Attorney at the Legal Aid Justice Center. “Manuel’s case is now on appeal, a process that could take six months or longer, as he continues living in these deplorable conditions.” 

“Senior officials have recommended that the Farmville detention center and other notoriously abusive facilities be closed or scaled down, yet people continued to endure abuse and inhumane conditions as described in this complaint,” said Jesse Franzblau, Senior Policy Analyst with the National Immigrant Justice Center. “The civil rights body receiving this complaint has received dozens of similar gut wrenching complaints showing the persistent rights violations that people face daily in ICE custody, and should take immediate steps to recommend Manuel’s release, along with everyone else facing substandard conditions in immigration detention.” 

Read the complaint here. 

*A pseudonym has been used to protect the complainant from potential retaliation by ICE.


The National Immigration Project (NIPNLG) is a membership organization of attorneys, advocates, and community members who are driven by the belief that all people should be treated with dignity, live freely, and flourish. We litigate, advocate, educate, and build bridges across movements to ensure that those most impacted by the immigration and criminal systems are uplifted and supported. Learn more at Follow NIPNLG on Facebook, X, and Instagram at @NIPNLG.

The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC, NFP) is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation, and public education. Visit

The Legal Aid Justice Center partners with communities and clients to fight for racial, social, and economic justice. The Immigrant Justice Program works to protect immigrant communities, fight the separation of immigrant families, and end ICE abuses of immigrants through direct representation in individual immigration cases and wider advocacy efforts.