Wyatt board holds first meeting since protest

Blackstone Valley

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — Wyatt Detention Facility’s board of directors met for the first time Monday night since a large demonstration outside resulted in 18 arrests last week.

The protest was in response to the mass detention of migrants and refugees across the country, as well as the Central Falls facility’s agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain immigrants as they await trial.

Wyatt currently houses 139 federal immigration detainees.

Rodrigo Pimentel said he’s still looking for answers on what’s happening at the facility.

“I came here today because I have concerns about whether or not the detainees here at Wyatt – the ICE detainees specifically – have had access to legal representation or lawyers,” he said. “Whether lawyers have been able to get in and help people pursue their asylum claims, that is why I was here and unfortunately the board did not answer those questions tonight.”

Eyewitness News requested an interview with the legal counsel for the board of directors – William O’Gara – but he declined.

When asked about the protest, he responded, “That wouldn’t be my role.”

Members of the board of directors also declined an interview.

Former Central Falls Mayor Thomas Lazieh spoke up at the public hearing Monday night, saying he wants more transparency from the facility as a whole.

“I want to see this facility operating well, I want to see a profit to the city, I also want to see every detainee that is here treated fairly,” Lazieh said.

Eyewitness News reached out to ICE for comment but has yet to hear back.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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