It was depressing.
Depressing because the human soul shrinks when it is snagged on the briars of the law, unable to go forward, unable to go back, denied the means to do anything but do … nothing. All day, every day, week after week upon month following month, there is almost nothing for the Haitians at Krome to do except … nothing.
‘Krome Avenue’: Detention center symbolizes inhumanity, The Evening Independent (22 January 1982).
“Our enemy are all the systems who prevent the poor people from living like the rest of the people,” said Samidi Florvil, a Haitian immigrant who was detained at the Krome Detention Center for two years. “Everyone who is against the working class is our enemy.”
“250 Haitians return for third Krome protest,” Sun Sentinel (30 June 1990).
After my uncle died, the Department of Homeland Security simply gave my family a corpse and a cause of death—acute and chronic pancreatitis—which he’d never shown any symptoms of before he became ill at Krome and for which he was never screened, tested, diagnosed, or treated while he was at the Krome medical unit or at Jackson Memorial Hospital. We were given no further explanations or clarification concerning his last days. In order to receive his medical records, with the help of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, we had to file Freedom of Information Act requests as well as a lawsuit. From the perspective of a family member, this is a nightmare. Not only did we tragically lose our loved one, but we had to fight a huge bureaucracy to find out what happened to him.
Edwidge Danticat, “Less than Human,” The Progressive (December 2007).
The Krome Service Processing Center is located in Dade County on the edge of the beautiful Florida Everglades. It sits approximately 0.25 miles from the luxurious Miccosukee Indian Hotel and Casino. The detention facility is centrally located, making travel to and from work a most pleasant task.
ICE Health Service Corps, Krome Service Processing Center
Image: Gary Monroe, Krome, women in dresses seated, 1981. Source: Gary Monroe Photographs, 1980-1998. Special Collections, Duke University Libraries.