“Immigrant integration doesn’t start with campaign promises. It starts with releasing the people who are starving for their freedom
in detention centers today.”
– Fahd Ahmed, Director of DRUM – Desis Rising Up and Moving
December 15, 2015 – New York City, NY
In the middle of her speech at the National Immigrant Integration Conference, Hillary Clinton was interrupted by several supporters of detainees who launched a hunger strike on Thanksgiving day with signs asking, “Do You Stand With Us?” and “People Are Starving for their Freedom.” In recent weeks, the candidate has come under fire for not speaking directly to the question of the strikers’ indefinite detention. A protest outside her office spurred both Sanders and O’Malley to cast their support to the strikers but Clinton’s campaign, despite representative Lorella Praelli listening to former strikers’ testimony during their protest outside.
Fahd Ahmed, director of DRUM – Desis Rising Up and Moving, says, “Future promises don’t speak to current crises. Allies respond to cries for help and denounce abuse when its exposed and so far Clinton has done neither. We want her and every official to do their part to see to the end of torture in detention, the freedom of the hunger strikers, and the halt of their deportations.”
Started by 110 detainees and expanded to 150, 20 are continuing the strike at Krome, South Texas, and Aurora facilities at last count. Last week, supporters rallied at ICE as court documents exposed authorized force feeding of strikers and detainees reported ICE using torture tactics of sleep deprivation to try to break their whistleblowing.
On Monday morning, 6 inmates at the Yuba County Jail also launched a hunger strike in solidarity with and joining the #freedomgiving strikes. While one of the strikers is a well-known immigrant detainee, Rajeshree Roy, the remaining 5 women are in general county custody, indicating the commonality of crisis in prisons and immigrant detention centers.
The women launching the hunger strike issued the following statement, “We are locked up together and refuse to be divided into immigrants and citizens. None of us belong in this cage separated from our families. We join the brave immigrant hunger strikers across the country in fasting to force recognition of our humanity.”
More details and background on the #Freedomgiving hunger strike available here: