To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is written on behalf of the over 500 detainees at the immigration detention center BTC (Broward Transitional Center) located at 3900 N. Powerline Rd., Pompano Beach, FL 33073. BTC is a non-criminal detention center contracted by the GEO Group. We would like to raise awareness to the situation in this facility.
...we still gather for breakfast, lunch and dinner with over 300 people at a time...
We are detained by ICE and some of us have US citizens and permanent residents as family members that reside all over Florida and the US. BTC is a crowded facility with over 500 detainees not including staff member; six of us share a 10X12 room. Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus everywhere has been quarantined, but yet ICE still brings new detainees to this facility on a daily basis without administering proper tests or checks but simply a temperature check knowing full and well that not every individual will display the common symptoms. The administration has canceled our family visitations, property release and reception, minimized the library capacity to 10 people (from 30) at any given time, which is understandable, but yet we still gather for breakfast, lunch and dinner with over 300 people at a time in the cafeteria on a daily basis. Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus everywhere has been quarantined, but yet ICE still brings new detainees to this facility on a daily basis. We have a lot of flu like symptoms doing around and we are getting frightened and worried that if any of the detainees gets infected with the Coronavirus it will start an epidemic on its own seeing that we are in a very confined space.
...we were instructed to go back to our rooms with feces in most of the toilets.
On March 17th, 2020 we had a water outage that was supposed to be for 2 hours (we did not get notified in advance) and ended up being 5 hours without drinking water, toilet use or shower which limited our hygiene and ability to defend ourselves against this rapidly spreading virus (Please note that a facility of this magnitude does not have any emergency/backup water supply for the over 500 people that are detained here.) At the regular lockdown hour at 18:30 we were instructed to go back to our rooms with feces in most of the toilets. When the security was notified about the unsanitary situations we were told to proceed to the rooms and turn on the toilet vents in order to vacate the disturbing smell and spread of germs and bacteria. After a peaceful protest for about 20 minutes the water was finally turned back on and everybody returned to their rooms.
We should not have to protest for a right to have running water in a time of a pandemic
We should not have to protest for a right to have running water in a time of a pandemic when it is of utmost importance that we maintain the highest level of sanitation possible. We are asking you to raise awareness on our behalf as our reach is limited to the outside world and please note that we are not complaining about our detained situation nor our immigration status and cases but are extremely concerned about our health and wellbeing with new people entering the facility daily.
We thank you for taking your time to read this letter and we sincerely ask for your permission in spreading the news and bringing our complaints to light.
(Note: Attached to this letter are the names and signatures of 247 people at BTC)