CREDO Action

Stop ICE from abusing and force-feeding refugee hunger strikers

Sign the petition

The petition to House Committees on Homeland Security, the Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform reads:

"Release the hunger strikers, conduct an unannounced inspection of ICE's El Paso and Otero Processing Centers, and investigate reports of abuse and mistreatment of detainees by the facility's medical staff and guards."

    You'll receive periodic updates on offers and activism opportunities.

    Stop ICE from abusing and force-feeding refugee hunger strikers

    ICE is threatening to torture Indian asylum seekers who have been on a hunger strike for more than 14 days demanding their freedom1 They are putting their bodies on the line to protest their prolonged detention and denial of bond.

    These asylum seekers have been held for over a year in facilities that the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General recognized as dangerous due to reckless use of solitary confinement, poor medical services, lack of sanitation and hostile staff.2

    Our partners on the ground just reported that ICE is now seeking court orders for involuntary IV and force-feeding to punish the Indian asylum seekers and end their protest. To stop this abuse, we need to turn up the pressure on the House Committees on Homeland Security, the Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform to hold ICE accountable and free the eight hunger strikers in El Paso and Otero immediately. Thousands of CREDO members signed a petition that helped free refugee hunger strikers early this year. Now, we need to speak out again.

    Stop ICE from abusing and force-feeding refugee hunger strikers.

    For over a year, the Trump administration has refused to free the eight asylum seekers currently on hunger strike. They have sponsors, pose no threat to the community and are not a flight risk – still, immigration judges have denied them bond. While in custody, many have suffered discrimination by ICE officials, facility staff and immigration judges.

    Because the government denies South Asians bond hearings at higher rates than other asylum seekers, they serve longer sentences in detention and have a history of using hunger strikes to shine a light on this injustice.3 Their protest speaks to the pain and the systemic injustices that happen to immigrants detained in the United States.

    As a country built by refugees, we should be welcoming people escaping violence, not forcing them to risk their lives again to fight for their right to due process.

    ICE says that hunger strikes are not common and force-feeding is exceedingly rare. That is a lie. Since May 2015, more than 1,300 people have gone on hunger strikes at 18 immigrant detention facilities.4 In El Paso and Otero's Process Centers alone, there have been 93 hunger strikes in the past year. 5 Congress must put a check on Trump's racist regime and stop allowing his corrupt and violent deportation force to get away with abusing immigrants and then covering it up.

    Join us to demand that Congress act now to immediately release and stop ICE's torture and abuse of immigrant hunger strikers.

    Stop ICE from abusing and force-feeding refugee hunger strikers.

    References:

    1. Nathan Craig, "Indian Asylum Seekers on Hunger Strike at El Paso and Otero Threatened with Force Feeding and Retaliation," Avid in the Chihuahuan Desert, July 22, 2019.
    2. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, "Concerns about ICE Detainee Treatment and Care at Detention Facilities," Dec. 11, 2017.
    3. Samantha Michaels, "How an El Paso Detention Center Is Treating Some Asylum-Seekers Could Violate the UN Convention Against Torture," Mother Jones, Feb. 9, 2019.
    4. Garance Burke and Martha Mendoza, "AP NewsBreak: ICE force-feeding detainees on hunger strike," AP News, Jan 31, 2019.
    5. Nathan Craig, "July 14, Five Men Currently on Hunger Strike for Their Freedom," Avid in the Chihuahuan Desert, July 14, 2019.