Three Indian men seeking asylum in the US have been forced to receive intravenous drips at a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in El Paso, Texas, as their hunger strike entered 20th day.
The men went on a hunger strike at the ICE detention center on July 9, demanding they be released while they appeal their deportation orders, their lawyer Linda Corchado was quoted as saying in newsreports.
They are asylum seekers whose claims have been denied and are seeking to reopen or appeal their cases, Corchado said. All three have been in detention for months, and one has been detained for over a year. The Department of Justice last week filed orders with federal judges to feed or hydrate them non-consensually, the Associated Press reported.
Lawyers and activists told AP they were worried that the next step will be force-feeding. “My clients made the decision to begin a hunger strike to protest prolonged detention and what they believe were biased and discriminatory practices by the immigration court toward their cases,” Corchado was quoted as saying.
After languishing a year or more in detention with no end in sight, these men were left with no other options to call attention to their prolonged detention and unfair immigration proceedings, and to obtain their freedom, she said.
It is the second time this year that Indian men have led hunger strikes at the El Paso Processing Center.
ICE confirmed that there were detainee hunger strikes at its facilities in El Paso and Otero, New Mexico, late last week, but it would not comment on the claims of forced hydration or force-feeding. One of the hunger strikers in Otero was deported to India eight days into his hunger strike, according to Corchado. ICE does not confirm deportations.