Free Them All

Mar 28, 2020
6:35 PM
Originally published at Audioboom

On Thursday, Latino Rebels published a story from the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network about how immigrant detainees at Richwood Detention Center in Louisiana have gone on hunger strike to protest conditions during the COVID-19 crisis. For this episode of Latino Rebels Radio, host Julio Ricardo Varela welcomes Lorena Quiroz, a Mississippi immigrant rights organizer to talk about the #FreeThemAll movement.

Featured image: Richwood Correctional Center (Public Domain)

The truth is that we have one request: our freedom. Why? Because of the situation that is happening on a global scale. People are dying from coronavirus. Even in the United States, a world power, a first world power, the hospitals are collapsed. Here we are vulnerable, you understand?

Here for us, if an officer comes in, gives us coronavirus, do you think that for us immigrants, the treatment they’ve given us during this whole time, is an adequate treatment? They’re not going to take a face mask from anyone, from any American, to put it on an immigrant. That means we are going to die. You understand? And ICE doesn’t guarantee us any kind of safety.

What we need, to not go on too long, is our freedom, because this is about humanity. This isn’t about an immigration treaty, this isn’t about a bond, or a parole, or an asylum case. This is about the fact that we are human beings. We aren’t animals.

And everyone is worried, and everyone outside is protecting themselves, and we are vulnerable. Who is protecting us? Who is worried about us? We have families. Mom, dad, siblings, daughters, sons. Our families outside are worried about us.

We’re standing our ground here. We haven’t gone to the dining hall for three days. Right now, in the midst of the repression, I’m guessing it’s the prison that has the televisions turned off. ICE came and told us that the news is all lies. To not believe the news. And right now, I don’t know what time it is. What time is it? At four, three forty in the afternoon, the televisions are still turned off, because since we don’t want to go eat, they’re putting pressure on us by keeping the televisions off, we aren’t taken out to the yard, we’re here in the bunker, walking over here, walking over there, we have nothing else to do.

All the bunkers are like that. Here there are 287 people. That’s how many are here in Richwood. And right now there are 64 of us here. In fact, there are 60 here in this bunker [on hunger strike]. Four people are eating.

Our health up until now is okay. What we don’t want is for the virus to show up and infect us all, and only then to look for a solution. Because what they’re going to do then is they’re going to put us all under quarantine and whoever’s gonna die is gonna die. Because here in this facility they don’t have the means to take care of all of us. Here all they’ve got is four nurses and a doctor who comes once a week.