By mid-October, another 9 asylum seekers declared a hunger strike, this time at the La Salle Detention Center in Louisiana.
The hunger strike at La Salle detention center began after some of the detainees were transferred from El Paso to La Salle Detention Center in Louisiana. Both hunger strikes have been organized by south asian asylum seekers who have been held in detention for 9 to 11 months. In both cases, ICE has responded with intimidation tactics, including placing leaders in solitary confinement and threatening the detainees with immediate deportation.
Please join DRUM in continued support of detainees who are organizing for their rights, and sign the petition to urge the New Orleans ICE office to stop retaliating against the hunger strikers and release them from detention.
All of the detainees at the El Paso Hunger Strike were asylum seekers who had passed their credible fear interviews and been given a “parole notification” – meaning that they had been interviewed by an immigration agent who determined they face legitimate threats if deported, and that ICE should have released them.
Instead, some ahd been held in detention 9-11 months, and recently, at least 33 detainees have had this parole notification and credible fear findings revoked. One asylum seeker was already deported despite the fact that he faces life threatening danger in Bangladesh.
After the hunger strike began, officials have tried to isolate the strikers, and continue to target, isolate and intimidate specific individuals.
The demands of the detainees were:
The hunger strikers report that:
Additionally, hunger strikers reported to advocates that credible fear approvals and parole have been revoked based on their affiliation to a conservative political party, the Bangladesh National Party. DHS automatically classifies all BNP members as national security threats, making them ineligible for asylum.
Moreover, we are very concerned that critical legal papers are not given to these asylum seekers, making it impossible for them to file their appeals on time. Most of them have already missed their deadlines because they did not have their documents on them.
During the hunger strike, 11 of the men were released. The others are still fighting their cases but ended the hunger strike on October 21, 2015.
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I am writing in support of the detainees that are currently on hunger strike at the La Salle Detention Center in Louisiana seeking to get a fair hearing for their case and for decent, livable conditions while they are detained.
I urge you consider their requests, including that:
ICE should stop their deportations and allow a fair hearing for their cases
Release asylum seekers from detention
Allow people who remain detained to be transferred to detention facilities that are closer to their families
Have access to interpretation
A stop to disparate treatment of South Asian detainees
Adequate access to basic medical care
I am aware that the asylum seekers whose credible fear and parole has been revoked have been told that it is due to their affiliation to the Bangladesh National Party. A conservative political party, it is being wrongfully categorized as a terrorist organization, making them ineligible for asylum. The detainees have not received copies of the immigration judge’s order, which has not allowed them to try to correct the error and seek appeal.
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