HOUSTON, TX- On Sunday, March 23th, 7 PM, in front of ICE Headquarters (126 Northpoint Drive, Houston, TX 77060), hunger strikers’ families and supporting community members will gather to mark one-week since the hunger strike began, calling on ICE to stop deporting strikers and instead initiate transparent negotiations.
As we approach the one week mark tonightof hunger strike at Joe Corley Detention Facility, Immigration and Customs Enforcement have gone to extreme lengths to escalate their retaliation tactics against the hunger strikers. While hunger strikers have named ‘that deportations and the resulting separation of families cease immediately,’ ICE has responded by deporting 15 strikers within the first week of the strike!
ICE apparently transferred atleast 2 strikers out of the facility to an unknown location, with family members left in the dark of their whereabouts. One striker has vomited blood due to kidney problems while others have fainted, sacrificing their bodily health in order to call ICE and GEO Group to put an end to deportations, improve detention conditions, and stop ICE-local law enforcement cooperation. 3 strikers remain in solitary confinement.
Manuel Martinez-Arambula, one of the hunger strikers, stated to his wife and daughter on March 22 that “Ï don’t want them to deport me and separate me from my family. What they might accomplish is to remove me, but it will be in a black bag.” When the Mexican Consulate came to visit Manuel on March 22, they overheard detention officials stating to remove the chains that officials had placed on Manuel’s hands and feet before Manuel appeared to meet with the Consulate. While GEO Group continues to profit from the exploitation of immigrants inside Joe Corley Detention and ICE continues to use extreme retaliation tactics, hunger strikers and the community will continue whistle-blowing deportations and inhumane conditions until their demands are met.