Eleven detained asylum seekers in El Paso, Texas, are being force-fed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement via nasal tubes, according to the nonprofit Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES).
After the immigrants refused nine consecutive meals, a federal judge authorized officials to feed them through plastic tubes inserted through their nostrils, thereby mitigating their hunger strike, which sought “to raise awareness and improve their situation inside the detention center.”
According to Amrit Singh, a family member of two detainees, “They are not well. Their bodies are really weak, they can’t talk and they have been hospitalized…They want to know why they are still in the jail and want to get their rights and wake up the government immigration system.” A lawyer for one of the detainees, Ruby Kaur, reports that those on the hunger strike are kept in solitary confinement and threatened with deportation.
This is both physical and psychological torture. How is this treatment of our fellow human beings seeking asylum in the USA ok? Something like this could only happen in a system tailored to keep migrants with legitimate claims of asylum from ever being allowed into the country.
RAICES reported that the hunger strike was the result of months of waiting with no end in sight and “no clear idea of when, if ever, a refugee may walk free on American soil.”
This development comes as President Donald Trump and lawmakers continue working toward an agreement that will provide border security funding — which RAICES characterized as “more money for private prison contracts, and therefore more abuses” — in an effort to avert another government shutdown this week.