WASHINGTON – A Colombian woman who fled her country fearing for her life, and who sought asylum in the United States, has denounced the inhumane treatment she received from immigration authorities at the El Paso Processing Center.
Colombian Diana Yurleima Mesa Rodriguez, whose application for asylum was denied and who remains in detention at the El Paso Processing Center, said she has suffered stomach problems due to bad food at the center and that those responsible, instead of attending to her complaints, have threatened her.
The Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee, a support organization for people being held at those centers, shared Tuesday with EFE the woman’s complaint, which she herself presented in writing to officials at the center.
Asked about the case, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, did not immediately respond to EFE.
Mesa Rodriguez, 29, said that last June 20 she almost swallowed a cockroach while eating a plate of beans at dinner, an incident that later caused her digestive problems.
The detainee wrote a complaint to one of the ICE supervisors, whom she identified by the last name of Henderson, and in which she described in detail what happened.
“On June 20 I went to the cafeteria as usual for dinner and there was a cockroach in the beans, but without realizing it I took a bite,” she said. “I immediately spit it out and saw I had chewed it.”
“I don’t know if the bug was contaminated, but after that I kept vomiting for several days and had stomachaches,” she said in her testimony.
Alan Dicker, of the Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee, said that personnel at the ICE detention center, instead of attending to her problem, threatened her with solitary confinement.
Officials at the detention center even nicknamed her “cockroach,” Dicker said.
Mesa Rodriguez had left Colombia after the body of her neighbor, a young woman, was found mutilated as the result of a conflict in which she herself was involved.