Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Investigate and punish immigration officers accused of maltreating women seeking asylum in the U.S.
According to advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, more than 500 women have initiated a hunger strike in response to maltreatment by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials at the Hutto residential center. The director of Grassroots Leadership’s immigration programs, Christina Parker, stated that in response to the hunger strike some women have been placed in solitary confinement and others have been relocated to all male facilities.
One woman at the Hutto facility told Parker that her mother joined the hunger strike after officials took away food she’d purchased at the commissary and replaced it with sour milk and half-baked cake. She further indicates that her mother was moved to an all-male facility when she refused to give up the strike and others joined the ranks.
ICE officials deny that any of the women are on a hunger strike. They further claim that the Hutto facility does not have any solitary confinement areas. However, Parker indicates that some women were removed from the general population and locked up in solo medical cells. Parker further points out that many of these women have been held at the facility for many months despite following all the necessary legal processes to gain asylum. Tell President Obama that maltreatment and retaliatory measures are unacceptable and must be investigated and remedied.
Dear President Obama,
For people being victimized by their native governments, the U.S. is often thought of as a safe haven. People give up their lives and life savings to reach our border and seek asylum. In one facility housing such women, the treatment they’re receiving may not be much better than what they fled.
According to Grassroots Leadership, nearly all of the 500+ women detained at the Hutto facility are on a hunger strike protesting maltreatment. In one incident, a daughter alleges that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials took away food her mother purchased at the commissary and replaced it with sour milk and half-baked cake. Her mother joined the hunger strike and was moved to an all-male facility, according to both the daughter and Grassroots Leadership.
Grassroots Leadership also points out that despite following the necessary steps to be granted asylum, many of these women have been held at the facility against their will for many months. America is supposed to be a land of compassion and tolerance, yet the treatment these women are receiving is cruel and unusual. We demand these claims be investigated and necessary steps taken to remedy the situation and punish ICE officials.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jonathan McIntosh