ICE force-feeding several immigrants on hunger strikes: report

ICE force-feeding several immigrants on hunger strikes: report

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities are reportedly force-feeding six immigrant detainees who have gone on hunger strikes.

ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa told The Associated Press that a federal judge authorized force-feeding of some detainees earlier this month. The AP reported that the men are being force-fed through nasal tubes, and that many have “persistent nose bleeds” and vomiting. Other have been put on an IV, one attorney told the news service.

Some detainees and an attorney representing them told the AP that nearly 30 people have refused food. The striking detainees are mostly from India and Cuba, and some have not eaten for over 30 days, according to the report.

Those who reached the AP told the news service that they are striking to protest their lengthy detentions and alleged verbal abuse from ICE guards. One Cuban immigrant said that the hunger strikers have also been put in solitary confinement “as punishment.”

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ICE told The Associated Press that 11 migrants at a detention facility in El Paso, Texas, and another four in other areas have been refusing food.

The Hill has reached out to ICE for comment.

Amrit Singh, who said his two nephews from Punjab, India, are seeking asylum and are on hunger strikes, told the AP that the men are “really weak” and have been hospitalized a number of times.

“They are not well,” said Singh, who lives in California.  “They want to know why they are still in the jail and want to get their rights and wake up the government immigration system.”

The AP noted that the nonprofit group Freedom for Immigrants said about 1,400 people have gone on hunger strikes in 18 immigration detention facilities since May 2015. But the report noted that court-ordered force-feeding is rare, and immigrants typically end their strikes when faced with the threat of a nasal tube.