To: Corey Price, El Paso ICE field office director, The United States House of Representatives, and The United States Senate
Stop Force-Feeding & Release Hunger Strikers in ICE Detention
Immigration and Customs Enforcement should stop the cruel, inhuman, and degrading practice of force-feeding asylum seekers held in their custody.
Why is this important?
Two men detained at ICE’s El Paso Service Processing Center remain on hunger strike in protest of their prolonged detention, due process violations, and the threat of deportation to the country they fled. As of September 16, 2019 the men in El Paso are on the 70th day of their hunger strike. Through an open-ended court order obtained by ICE, the men in El Paso are being force-fed for weeks at a time, in violation of medical ethics and human rights standards. A third man was deported after being medically cleared despite being on hunger strike for 63 days.
In federal court, one man challenging this torture testified about the pain of having a naso-gastric tube inserted into his body. Despite the pain, he asserted he would continue on hunger strike. "I want my freedom," one man said. "After that, I will drink any protein shake or eat anything that's given to me."
Individuals held in detention should have the right to refuse food as a form of protest. The World Medical Association says that force-feeding hunger strikers is "unethical" and "never justified." Force-feeding procedures used in immigration detention are extremely painful—often intentionally so to break the protest—and can constitute cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment under international law.
Hunger striking is often the only form of peaceful protest people in immigration detention have available to them to bring attention to what’s happening behind the walls of these immigration jails. These facilities create further obstacles to pursuing immigration relief, trapping people in a nearly impossible situation where they are detained with no end in sight and no possibility for release.
ICE has the discretion to release anyone in their custody. Urge members of Congress to take immediate action to demand that ICE stop force-feeding these individuals and release them now from detention to their sponsors and supporters here in the U.S. If they are not released soon, their death is imminent.