Drivers protest captivity of ICE detainees amid pandemic

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WLNE) — Dozens of drivers were making noise outside of the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls Friday morning, protesting the facility’s housing of ICE immigrant detainees amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Drivers circled the Wyatt Center for an hour, honking their horns, and holding signs asking Governor Gina Raimondo and ICE New England Director, Todd Lyons, to release immigrant detainees amid the pandemic.

“People in there are very scared,” explained Nate Levin-Aspenson, of the Never Again Action group in Rhode Island.

“The conditions in [the Wyatt Center] are such that they are not safe, and people can not social distance.”

Levin-Aspenson tells ABC 6, roughly 70 detainees are on a hunger strike inside the Wyatt Center.

“They are of course worried about their families, who are dealing with the pandemic and are separate from them,” he said. “Many of them don’t know whats going on.”

This was the second demonstration by the Never Again Action group outside of the Wyatt Center this Passover week alone.

On Wednesday, the group projected a picture of Anne Frank on the side of the building, with text explaining that she died from an infectious disease in a crowded detention center. The image called upon Governor Raimondo to release all ICE detainees during the pandemic.

“Unfortunately that message was to the Governor, and she has said she will not release any more prisoners,” said Levin-Aspenson.

The group decided to protest by car, so they could stay safe and maintain proper social distancing.

(c) WLNE-TV // ABC 6   2020

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