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de La Palma Correctional Center en Eloy, AZ


from La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy, AZ

En una serie de tres cartas, recibidas durante seis semanas por Trans Queer Pueblo, 97 migrantes detenidas pintan un cuadro desgarrador de negligencia médica extrema, resistencia migrante y represión violenta en La Palma Correctional Facility en Eloy, AZ. 

Las cartas, enviadas con gran riesgo para la seguridad personal de sus firmantes, contrarrestan las declaraciones oficiales de ICE de que todo está bajo control en sus instalaciones. Las cartas también destacan la poderosa organización de los migrantes que se está llevando a cabo tras las rejas durante la pandemia.

Trans Queer Pueblo exige que ICE libere inmediatamente a los firmantes de las cartas, a todos los migrantes LGBT+ y a todos los migrantes en las cárceles del ICE debido a la pandemia mundial de COVID-19.

¿Has recibido una carta de algún migrante detenido en un centro de detención de ICE durante la pandemia? Súbela en las redes sociales con #CartasXLiberación y etiqueta @tqpueblo en Instagram & Twitter o @transqueerpueblo en Facebook.

Para preguntas de prensa, contacten a Stephanie a

In a series of three letters, received over six weeks by Trans Queer Pueblo, 97 detained migrants paint a harrowing picture of extreme medical neglect, migrant-led protests, and violent repression at La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy, AZ.

The letters, sent at great risk to the personal safety of their signatories, counter ICE’s official statements that everything is under control at their facilities. The letters also highlight the powerful migrant organizing taking place behind bars during the pandemic. 


Trans Queer Pueblo calls on ICE to immediately release the letters’ signatories, all LGBTQ+ migrants, and all migrants in ICE jails in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Have you received a letter from migrants in ICE detention during the pandemic? Post it to social media with #LettersForLiberation and tag @tqpueblo on Instagram & Twitter or @transqueerpueblo on Facebook.


For media inquiries, please contact Stephanie at

May 18

"Somos seres humanos no queremos morir aqui dentro" 

"We are human beings. We do not want to die here" 

The most recent letter is signed by 29 migrants. It corroborates other accounts that social distancing is impossible in ICE facilities.

First and foremost, greetings and respect, 


In these letters I would like to express the suffering that I and many detainees like me are going through  here at La Palma.


We know that many cases of Covid-19 exist here at the prison and they are increasing every day.


We belong to a small group that is not in isolation because there is covid-19 in all the tanks or suspicions of many cases. We have been detained for a long time and have not yet finished since the courts are suspended; the minimum delay is 3 or 4 months. 


We are not sure about the isolation measures. There are 120 of us in a small space and that is how the pandemic propagates faster. The entrance of personnel and other workers is the biggest source of danger of it entering the tank. 

“There are 120 of us in a small space and that is how the pandemic spreads faster.”


We have been through two quarantines and we don’t know for how long. We are asked to sleep opposite each other when we share the same air. The lack of information is depressing. We know nothing. ICE has no answer and our requests for parole are not answered. From our heart, we ask for help. We are human beings.
We do not want to die here, please. 


In the name of detainees at La Palma

Please help,


Barboro Miguel Garcia Gonzalez 
Denis Mons Valdés 

Yaniel Morin Pentón 

Yaniel Estrada Rizo 
Ernesto de la Paz __ 

Deybi Aragón Garcia 
Yasiel __ 
Ronny Sardiñas Machado 

Ryel ____ 
Villanueva Días José 

Robiel Petit Batista 
Hector A. Pérez Sánchez 
Rodisnel Fong Quiñones 
Nelson David C____ J__ 

Jorge F Ibarra Perez 

Yoel Gonzalez Ventura 

Jorge Luis Rodriguez 


Vaya AQUÍ para la transcipción en español 

April 30

"Solo nos recetan agua, por cualquier cosa es agua" 

"No matter the illness, they send us to drink water" 

In this letter, thirty-two migrants with asthma, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic illnesses beg for humanitarian parole. They report they are forced to wait 15 days to see medical staff; and when they finally do, they are only prescribed water.

La Palma Correctional Center                                                            date: april 30, 2020

8501 North La Palma Road

Eloy, AZ 85131 


Warm greetings, may God bless you greatly, we are very grateful for your unconditional help, we address you in order to express our concerns.


As vulnerable detainees, isolated in the "Apache Alpha" tank inside the "La Palma" Correctional Center, located at 5501 North La Palma Road, Eloy, Arizona 85131, it is known that we have had several infected people inside the correctional center, all of us who are detained here suffer from illnesses such as

  1. Asthma

  2. Diabetes

  3. Anemia

  4. Cancer

  5. Lipomas

  6. Hypertension


These medical conditions make us more likely to contract the coronavirus, we have a deep fear of becoming infected and dying far from our families. There are 18 confirmed cases here at the Correctional Center. There are no hygienic conditions necessary to maintain good health or to avoid becoming infected. We have been isolated for over a month. ICE staff are not complying with the law they implemented on April 20, which establishes the release of all immigrants most vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus.


We are 32 people in isolation since we are the most vulnerable to contract the covid-19 in which there are #17 Cubans, #1 from Guatemala, #7 Mexicans, #2 from Venezuela, #1 from Cameroon, #1 from the Philippines, 1# from Africa, 1# from Bangladesh and 1# from Honduras. Please give this letter to Telemundo and all the corresponding organizations so that they can help us, we are afraid of dying in this place, and so that this letter can go viral so that the world can see the injustice that the ICE authorities are committing against us for the simple reason that we are immigrants, even with a law passed by a Federal Judge in the State of California that applies to all the states, but they still do not want to release us. Most of us have been in jail for 6 months or more at La Palma Correctional Center in the State of Arizona.

“so that the world can see the injustice that the ICE authorities are committing against us for the simple reason that we are immigrants”


In Maricopa County there are over 1000 cases of coronavirus, it’s the most infected county in Arizona and close to the Correctional Center here where Core Civic workers live. Here, in detention,  doctors do not attend us in a timely way, when we are sick or injured, they tell us to send a request. When we send the request it takes 4 to 15 days for them to come and check us, and they only prescribe us water. No matter the illness, they send us to drink water. The lack of professionalism and care on the part of doctors is clear to us, we need your help. We are people who have families who are concerned about our situation and state of health with this virus that still has no cure. For these reasons, we would like to ask ICE to make a gesture of humanity with us. Those of us who are requesting this humanitarian parole, comply with all the requirements that ICE requests, we do not have criminal charges, we do not present a risk of escape, nor are we a risk to the community, nor are we going to make a public burden on this country, since our families are willing to take responsibility for us financially, as well as to take responsibility for us to appear in court and be deported if necessary.


For all of these reasons, all of us who are signing this letter have agreed to serve as  witnesses and testify against ICE for not complying with the law.


Once again we ask for your help as soon as possible, the more days that go by the more risk we run of being infected with Covid-19. Thank you and God bless you all.

Vaya AQUÍ para la transcipción en español 

April 16

"Entraron los oficiales...disparandonos balas de paintball y gas lacrimojeno" 

"They shot at us with paintball bullets and tear gas."

This letter, signed by 36 migrants, recounts how guards used rubber bullets and teargas in retaliation against peaceful hunger strikers demanding more information about the coronavirus.

Vaya AQUÍ para la transcipción en español 

We ask for help

Trans Queer Pueblo


I Joel Edgardo Cornejo Mercado (A# XXXXXXXX) write this letter to explain our situation.


Between approximately the 26th and 28th of March people started to become infected with COVID-19 in the Tewa Charlie Tank. They were moved and the other residents of that tank were placed in quarantine, leaving the tank empty. Later on in the week people became infected in the Tewa Bravo Tank, creating panic in our tank - Tewa Alpha. We asked for information from the personnel. They did not give us any concrete answers. How could we not be afraid of a sickness that could end our lives? On Saturday 4/11/20 between 2 and 3:30PM a person got sick in Tewa Bravo Tank. Since the personnel would not give us any information the residents of Tewa Alpha Tank decided to carry out a peaceful strike without causing harm to anyone. We only asked to speak with an ICE official. The official agreed to talk to us and we had the chance to talk to him. But, before the ICE official arrived, employees of La Palma Correctional Center were armed. We spoke with the ICE official. He asked if we were going to go into our cells. We all said yes, since we were not doing anything wrong. He said that they would not hurt us and that an official who worked in the detention center would come and lock us into our cells and we said that was fine. Many of us went by ourselves into our cells while a few of us waited for the official. But, when the supposed ICE official left between 8:30 and 9:15 the officials of La Palma Detention Center came in. They shot at us with paintball bullets and tear gas, causing me a lot of harm. I was struck with paintball bullets, causing me a lot of harm and leaving me psychologically traumatized. Many of the other detainees also suffered in different ways.

“We asked for information from [the guards.] They did not give us any concrete answers. How could we not be afraid of a sickness that could end our lives?”


In this letter we denounce the abuse of authority that we have suffered. They told us that they would not harm us because everything we did was peaceful. We ask for the support of the organization because all of our complaints were rejected, since they don’t want anyone to find out what happened. We are attaching a sheet of signatures with our A numbers so that you can see how many of us were affected and how many complaints there are. There were cameras. We ask that you review them or ask for the video footage from that date. Since they abused their power as authority we are afraid of retaliation since they don’t want us to denounce what happened. We ask for help as soon as you can. Thank you and may God bless you.


The signatures of 39 migrants detained at La Palma Correctional Center.

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