The number of ICE detainees has been slowly dwindling inside Wyatt. Two weeks ago, local immigration lawyers entered the facility to work with the immigrant detainees. According to one of those lawyers, Debbie Gonzalez, only about 20 detainees remained.
By mid-week there were only nine Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detainees remaining inside the Wyatt Detention Facility according to John Mohan, spokesman for ICE. That’s down from the more than 100 detainees estimated to be inside the Central Falls holding facility in March.
The final group of detainees will be out of the facility by week’s end, Mohan said Thursday.
Over the last two months, news that ICE was using Wyatt to hold immigrant detainees stirred outrage among local leaders. The mayor and members of the city council called for both the termination of any agreement between Wyatt and ICE, as well as the closure of the facility altogether.
At the beginning of April, the quasi-public board that governs the day-to-day operations inside Wyatt, voted to suspend the ICE agreement.
That vote was quickly followed by a lawsuit, filed in federal court by bondholders for the facility. The bondholders, UMB Bank of Kansas City, Missouri say they are owed more than $130 million dollars from Wyatt. At the direction of the court, the Wyatt board issued a stay of their suspension of the ICE contract.
ICE spokesman John Mohan would not explain why the detainees were being removed from Wyatt, nor if it was related to the original board vote. Mohan would not clarify whether some or all of the detainees had been moved to other holding facilities, or if they have been deported out of the country.
In the meantime, the lawsuit has moved into federal mediation. The Wyatt Board met this week to discuss the lawsuit and mediation. After a closed executive session, the board voted to grant decision-making powers to their attorneys for the mediation. The nature of those powers is unclear.
On Thursday of this week, the newly-appointed chair of the Wyatt Board, immigration attorney Joseph Molina Flynn resigned from his post. It now falls to Central Falls Mayor James Diossa to name a new member to the board.