For Immediate Release
November 16, 2023
Arianna Rosales, email@example.com
Washington, DC–The National Immigration Project today filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on behalf of two Salvadoran men who were detained under ICE custody at the Moshannon Valley Processing Center (Moshannon), a prison owned and operated by GEO Group since 2021. The facility was previously operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons until President Biden issued an executive order to phase out the use of private prisons. The complaint specifically focuses on an incident that occurred in June 2023 when the facility placed the two complainants in solitary confinement due to unsubstantiated, false, and racist allegations of gang membership solely due to their national origin.
On June 14, 2023, Edgar* and Oscar*, along with approximately sixteen other men, were placed in solitary confinement at Moshannon. Without being provided with any reason or any process for review of their placement, they were forced to remain in solitary for a full week. After a week, both Edgar and Oscar were inexplicably transferred to facilities in Louisiana, where Edgar remained in segregation for three additional weeks. It appears the only reason Edgar and Oscar were detained in solitary confinement is because the facility incorrectly characterized them as MS-13 gang members due to their national origin.
“The amount of time I spent in solitary was soul crushing. I was losing my mind in there and losing all sense of rationality and hope. There were days I wanted to give up entirely. I spent 23-24 hours per day in a cell alone,” describes Edgar in the complaint as he recounts how the conditions in solitary confinement degraded his mental health.
“This complaint highlights discriminatory treatment and abuse that is pervasive throughout the U.S. immigration system. Moshannon has already been investigated for abuse, particularly around use of force and sexual assaults. We cannot allow this to continue. We urge DHS to take all measures necessary to investigate the allegations raised by these two brave individuals, release Edgar, who remains in detention, and put an end to the use of solitary confinement. Ultimately, we know the mistreatment documented in this complaint is 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, " said Amber Qureshi, staff attorney at the National Immigration Project.
*Pseudonyms have been used to protect the identities of the complainants.
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 nipnlg.org. Follow NIPNLG on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @NIPNLG.