TROY – Several immigrant rights groups have filed a civil rights complaint with the US Department of Homeland Security over allegations of physical violence against a woman while she was detained by immigration officials and the alleged conditions unsanitary conditions at Rensselaer County Jail where she and four other immigrant women are being held.

The September 9 complaint led to alleged retaliation by federal and county officials against the woman, who was identified as “Ms. Q” in order to protect her from potential abuse by inmates at the Jail. county, according to her attorney, Sophia Genovese, a volunteer supervising lawyer for Catholic charities in the Archdiocese of New York. The alleged retaliation included being told she should be immediately deported.

Genovese described the county jail as a intimidating site for immigrant women due to its remoteness from their families and lawyers and their rights being violated. Genovese said the women are only in prison weeks or months after receiving the deportation order.

The complaint alleges that while in transit while in the custody of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an ICE employee “violently pulled on Ms. Q’s handcuffs, which caused her handcuffs to ankles caught on a grid and caused Ms. Q to fall. Because Ms. Q’s wrists, hips and feet were chained together, she could not cushion her fall with her hands and landed on her head . Ms. Q later reports that she was told to clean herself in the sink inside her cell, although she was covered in blood, ”according to a statement issued regarding the incident.

Catholic Charities, the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund and Justice for Migrant Families want the physical incident involving ICE, as well as the prison conditions and the alleged failure of services provided in accordance with DHS guidelines, to be addressed. investigation.

Complaints about the prison include lack of medical care, unsanitary living conditions, clogged toilets, floors littered with trash, barely usable sinks, lack of sanitary napkins and no access to showers for a while. 10 days maximum, as well as failure to follow DHS guidelines. The complaint wants DHS to inspect the prison.

Genovese alleges that after the complaint was filed, ICE employees told Ms Q on Friday that she should be immediately kicked out. Since the complaint, other allegations include that in prison, a lieutenant spoke to Ms Q without her lawyer present, and inmates were told that potential problems at the prison were due to immigrant detainees, Genovese said. . At the last count, five immigrant women were in prison awaiting deportation, Genovese said.

The ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the civil rights complaint sent to various DHS officials, including representatives of ICE.

The sheriff’s office said: “The main complaint from the inmate, who was to be deported, was that she did not want to be quarantined upon arrival at the facility, which is, due to COVID-19, the policy for all new admissions to Rensselaer County Prison She received a grievance form, which she filled out, but then signed off stating that all was well and that she no longer wished to move the grievance forward.

As of August, the county jail had 69 federal prisoners out of a total prison population of 169, according to the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services monthly report. Federal inmates made up 40 percent of the prison population. Immigrant detainees would be counted among federal prisoners.


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