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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” – Paulo Freire, Educator

Torture for-profit

Here's the message we sent to our members. After you've read it, please add your voice.

Hundreds of women in Texas have gone on hunger strike to protest inhumane treatment and incarceration.

Support their demand for: “Freedom Now!”

Dear Friend,

"I cannot take any more of this punishment, I’m dying of desperation from this injustice, from this cruelty.” — Insis, a woman hunger striker from Honduras1

Hundreds of refugee and migrant women are on hunger strike at the all-women T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas — an ICE facility run by the notorious private prison company, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). They are demanding an end to abusive treatment and their immediate release. Since their strike began, they have reported harsh retaliation and intensified abuse. It’s torture.2 And if enough of us speak up, ICE and CCA officials will be forced to hear the women’s grievances and consider their demands.

Please support the women in their hunger strike and demand that ICE officials set the women free.

At least 27 immigrant women initiated the hunger strike.3 The majority of the women came to the U.S. after fleeing violence and poverty in Central America, and many have already passed their “credible fear” or “reasonable fear” interviews — an important step in the asylum application process. Many of the women are asylum seekers fleeing violence in Central America. Since then, hundreds of women have joined the strike and additional hunger strikes have taken place in other parts of Texas, Louisiana and California.

While ICE claims there is no hunger strike, visitors to the facilities have confirmed that hundreds are on strike. ICE and CCA have also escalated their efforts to retaliate by threatening to deport hunger strikers and moving at least 12 women to other facilities or placing them in solitary confinement as a response to their collective action.

Demand that ICE and CCA stop the abuse, retaliation and release the women immediately.

These immigration detention facilities are inhumane. And, private prison companies make billions from our broken and discriminatory criminal justice system by disproportionately locking up our people in some of the most dangerous prisons, for profit. Furthermore, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is required to keep at least 34,000 immigrants locked up to meet a draconian federal quota at a cost to taxpayers of $2 billion per year,5 much of this going to enrich private prison corporations like CCA.

The hunger strike is being organized by women who have a wide range of issues with the detention center, and many of the asylum-seeking hunger strikers have been in detention for more than a year.6 They have also suffered from terrible conditions inside the detention center. Many of the women came to this country seeking help, as one of them writes: “I immigrated with the hope that I would receive help here but instead I’ve been treated unjustly.”

"I am a woman fleeing a country where women are given few rights, all of which are violated, and land in this place where the people of immigration condemn us to a process with little or no security, since this process will ultimately end with our deportation. With no objection to a lack of defense, condemning us to an assured death upon being deported back to our countries, then where are our rights? Or why so much time?" wrote another one of the women on strike. Refugees and asylum seekers should not be locked up or abused. 

Sign the petition.

Thank you for all you do and ¡adelante!

– Matt, Favianna, Oscar, Erick, and the Presente.org team.

P.S. Can you donate $5 to support our work? We rely on contributions from people like you to see campaigns like this through.

Sources:
1. "BREAKING: At least 27 women on hunger strike at the Hutto Detention Center #Hutto27," Grassroots Leadership, October 27, 2015.
2. "Women on hunger strike face retaliation at this Texas immigration detention center, activists say," Fusion, November 4, 2015.
3. "Immigrant Women Protest Detention With Hunger Strike," The Take Away, November 2, 2015.
4. "Visions from the inside," Visions from the inside Tumblr, August 14, 2015.  
5. "The US Keeps 34,000 Immigrants in Detention Each Day Simply to Meet a Quota," The Nation, August 13, 2014.
6."Immigrant Women Launch Indefinite Hunger Strike, Asking To Be Freed From Detention Center," ThinkProgress, October 29, 2015.