As Immigration Officers Trick People To Sign Deportation Orders, These Detainees Are Peacefully Fighting Back

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Five hundred fathers and sons detained at the Karnes Detention Center in Karnes City, Texas are in a hunger strike protesting the unfair conditions of the center and being separated from their families. The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) released a statement about the hunger strike standing with the detainees after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) downplayed the hunger strike.

The men and boys say that they are tired of being inside the facility under terrible conditions. They want their immigration cases expedited so they can be reunited with their families.

“The situation at Karnes today is one of the worst I’ve seen in my twelve years of practicing law,” RAICES’ Director of Family Detention Services Manoj Govindaiah said in a statement. “The trauma caused by their separations has forced these fathers into untenable positions of fear, anger, and despair. That these families feel the need to strike shows how tired they are of the games the administration continues to play with vulnerable communities.”

The fathers will protest by going on a hunger strike and disobeying orders, while the sons will not participate in school activities.

“It is an internment camp housing vulnerable fathers and sons jailed in their care,” RAICES Communications Director Jennifer K. Falcon, said in a statement. “The same fathers who ICE has tricked into signing deportation agreements masked as reunification papers.”

Detainees claim to RAICES that they are “being treated like animals” at this facility.

According to the press release: “The strike is born out of frustration from fathers and children who can no longer bear the trauma that comes with being separated, then reunited, and now being detained for long periods of time in unjust conditions where they are continuously being ‘treated like animals.'”

Many of the fathers are choosing to fight their cases and attempt to gain asylum rather then get deported.

RAICES believes the men on strike have a good chance of remaining in the country under asylum laws.

“While ICE has not provided RAICES with a list of detainees or their immigration case status, RAICES attorneys believe that those at Karnes are fathers who were coerced into accepting deportation in order to expedite reunification with their children,” reads the press statement. “However, upon reunification and after accessing legal services, many of the detainees have learned that they have colorable claims for asylum and, rather than accept deportation, are choosing to fight their cases.”


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