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Florida communities hold press conference demanding Biden Administration shut down all detention centers, end deportations and release all people in immigration detention

Speaker and banner reading Free Them All
Photo: AFSC-FL / AFSC

MIAMI (March 3, 2022) Today, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Immigrant Action Alliance, Southern Poverty Law Center, Florida, Freedom for Immigrants, Shut Down Glades Coalition, Hope Community Center, Lake Worth Food Not Bombs, Florida Immigrant Coalition, ACLU Florida and other organizations, brought the community together for a press conference calling for the Biden administration to take immediate action to shut down immigration detention centers, including Glades County Detention Center. The Glades County Detention Center is known for its long list of complaints about human rights abuses, medical neglect, and racist violence.

The coalition said that they are not just demanding the closure of the Glades County Detention Center. They are demanding all detention centers be shut down, calling for an end to deportations, the release of all people currently held in immigration detention, and cuts to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) budgets. 

Following Biden’s State of the Union address, advocates expressed their deep disappointment and frustration over the administration’s broken campaign promises and demanded urgent action be taken. 

Rather than reducing detention – which Biden promised on the campaign trail and reaffirmed as recently as April of 2021 – the administration has instead embarked on a troubling pattern of detention expansion and has embraced Trump-era anti-immigrant policies, including the harmful “Remain in Mexico” program and Title 42 border closure and expulsions. 

“Broken promises are just a ‘nice’ person’s way of being cruel, and we are reeling from the cruelty of President Biden’s broken promises to immigrant communities,” said Rebecca Talbot, Glades Lead at Immigrant Action Alliance. “The Glades County Detention Center in Moore Haven, Florida exemplifies how the detention system as a whole is fundamentally flawed. The facility has a well-documented record of abuse, including spraying toxic chemicals in enclosed spaces; excessive use of force, especially against Black immigrants; medical abuse and neglect; and incompetence that constantly endangers people’s lives. The Glades County Detention Center currently detains eight people and is operated by the Glades County Sheriff’s Office. The Shut Down Glades Coalition has long been calling for the facility’s closure.” 

"We urge the community, not just today or tomorrow, but every day to keep holding our representatives responsible for the violence they are subjecting our immigrant families to. We must shut down Glades and every facility like Glades," said Guadalupe de la Cruz, director of AFSC’s program in Florida.

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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.