At least 20 male immigrants, mainly from Central America, began a hunger strike at an adult immigration detention facility in California on Friday night, according to the advocacy group Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC). The hunger strike at the Adelanto Detention Facility is the fourth one launched by immigrant detainees across the nation in the past two weeks.
The Adelanto Detention Facility is run by the GEO Group, a private company that has a contract with the federal government’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to house federal immigrant detainees. Both male and female detainees are held at the center, though in separate facilities. In July, the GEO Group announced that it would add 640 beds to increase the facility’s capacity to 1,940 beds.
In a three-page, hand-written note obtained by ThinkProgress, the hunger strikers call on the GEO Group staff to provide them with better medical and dental care, to offer better food, and to treat them with respect. The detainees say they should have clean, hot main course meals instead of slices of cold turkey. They also suggest that they should be able to lodge complaints with a grievance coordinator who does not work for the GEO corporation.
“We are detainees and not prisoners,” the letter reads, in part. “We are humans who have the misfortune of being detained. We also respectfully and humbly ask that no retaliation be taken upon any of us detained here in Adelanto by any GEO or ICE staff in our right to unite for a common cause and to protect one another in our peacefull [sic] protest and demonstration.”
Read more: thinkprogress.org