The repeated pattern of abuse, retaliation incompetence, lack of moral consciousness on behalf of the staff and ICE is one of the many reasons the #ElPaso9 must be released. Another day in custody, whether on hunger strike or not, is another day of danger and certain torture or death for many in detention. Not only do we demand that these men need to be released and be allowed to continue their cases with the support of their families and communities, we demand an end to detention.
From an op-ed by our partners at AVID.
To: Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Join DMSC to tell ICE: Release the El Paso Hunger Strikers
We join with Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee (DMSC) to call on ICE to immediately stop force feeding and release all hunger strikers. We also call on ICE to take concrete steps to end abuse in the El Paso region immigration detention, and create a clear and fair process that detained immigrants can follow to win parole and be freed.
Why is this important?
On December 27th, Sikh asylum seekers started a hunger strike to protest the discrimination, verbal abuse, lack of language access, and prolonged detention they have faced at the hands of ICE. The hunger strikers were joined shortly after by more Sikh and Cuban asylum seekers who have faced similar discrimination and lengthy detention. ICE has taken the extreme step of force-feeding nine hunger strikers through plastic nasal tubes, a painful and inhumane process. When asked if those being force-fed were being treated well by medical staff, one man simply responded: "they don't care".
ICE has a history of cruelty and discrimination. This is only one of several hunger strikes happening across the country, which speaks to a pervasive problem with this government institution. While immediate relief for all hunger strikers is key, the only acceptable permanent solution is for the government to abolish the immigrant detention system, cease the criminalization of migrants, and provide safe and fair opportunities for immigration.
Asylum-seekers should not have to endanger their own health and expose themselves to retaliation from ICE in order to make progress in their cases. We call on civil society to ask that ICE stop torturing asylum seekers and instead do the work of considering their claims in a legal hearing.