ICE denies reports of hunger strike by immigrant fathers in detention facility

ICE denies reports of hunger strike by immigrant fathers in detention facility
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Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is denying a report that migrant fathers have gone on a hunger strike over conditions in immigrant detention centers.

ICE said in a statement obtained by Reuters that on Thursday “a small group of fathers and their children (fewer than 50 total) staged a brief sit-in” at Karnes County Residential Center in Texas, “and expressed their concerns about their immigration cases.”

The residents "appreciated the information and dispersed,” according to the statement.


But the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), an immigration advocacy group representing the migrants, disputed ICE's statement and said that the fathers, who were recently reunited with their sons, had gone on a hunger strike.

"The dads are on a hunger strike and they are refusing to obey any directions from ICE and GEO guards," RAICES spokeswoman Jennifer Falcon told reporters, referring to the private contractor GEO Group Inc. that operates the center.

GEO did not return Reuters's request for comment.

RAICES told The Guardian earlier this week that more than 500 migrant fathers and children were planning on holding a hunger strike over conditions in the facility.

Falcon also said that the fathers held sit-ins and that children were refusing to participate in school activities, according to Reuters.

Fathers at the detention center allege that they were persuaded into agreeing to be deported voluntarily in return for being reunited with their children.

The immigrant families were separated at the border as part of a crackdown on immigration. President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE signed an executive order earlier this year to end the family separation policy.