Adelanto Hunger Strike
Hunger Strikers at the Adelanto Detention Facility is the Latest in National Actions
Short Documentary, “Adelanto’s 10,000 Cages,” Highlights Abuses in the Adelanto Immigration Deteniton Facility
Family members of people detained at the GEO Group’s immigration detention facility in Adelanto, California, have announced that 20 men in the facility began refusing food Friday, October 30, 2015, and are asking for support from the public, for the #AdelantoHungerStrike. Community groups have been demanding the closure of the Adelanto Detention Facility since 2012, when it was first opened by GEO Group under contract with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The documentary, Adelanto’s 10,000 Cages, shows the abuse that people in Adelanto must endure:
The 20 men participating in the #AdelantoHungerStrike include asylum seekers, who have come to this county, seeking protections from the conditions in their own countries, as well as valuable members of our community that wish nothing more than to be reunited with their families. Instead, due to the Immigration Quota, legislation proposed by and for private prison companies, they they have been locked up in the for-profit GEO Group Facility, and suffer from abuses.
The men participating in the peaceful disobedience, wrote about condition changes that they wish to see, as well as more humane treatment for themselves and their loved ones that come to visit them. In the handwritten letter, they outline issues with food, medical care, and the grievance policies. They also demand respect for their families, and proper treatment from the GEO guards, and remind everyone, “We are detainees, and not prisoners!”
The #AdelantoHungerStrike is the fourth hunger strike at a U.S. immigration detention facility in less than 3 weeks. This Think Progress Article reports that on the morning of October 14th, 54 South Asian asylum seekers from Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan refused food and water at the El Paso detention center in Texas. Five days later, another 14 Indian and Bangladeshi immigrants began a solidarity hunger strike at the Lasalle Detention Center in Louisiana. On October 28th, Grassroots Leadership reported that 27 women at the T. Don Hutto Facility, a facility in Taylor, Texas, run by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), also began a hunger strike.
Jan Meslin, the Director of Social Change for Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), a national network of visitation programs, including Friends of Adelanto Detainees, at the Adelanto Detention Facility, has been in close communication with hunger strikers around the country. “Over the last two weeks, I have visited men at El Paso and LaSalle while they were on hunger strike. They remained hopeful, but it was so difficult to watch them. I saw them weak from hunger, beaten down by the system that threw many of them into solitary confinement in reaction to them exercising a First Amendment right. As these men at Adelanto, a facility in my home state of California, launch this fourth hunger strike, we want to remind ICE and GEO Group officials that we are watching for retaliation and we will not stand by if they retaliate against any of these brave people, trying to highlight the horrid conditions of their captivity.”
Immigration detention is a complex and debilitating system. In immigration detention, people are expected to fight their own complicated legal cases with little to no representation from an attorney, and are subjected to countless abuses. CIVIC’s short film, “Adelanto’s 10,000 Cages,” shows how people in immigration detention in Adelanto, California, have become victims of extreme medical neglect, and abuse. The documentary features complaints like those that the #AdelantoHungerStrike have outlined in their letter.
As our friends at Grassroots Leadership who are supporting the women on Hunger Strike at Hutto facility said, “Justice in this context can only mean liberty.”