What: Press Conference preceding Congressional Briefing
When: 1:10pm Friday, April 18th, 2014
Where: Rayburn 2103, Washington, DC
Who: Catalina Nieto, Detention Watch Network, Ernestina Hernandez who’s husband Manuel was deported from the Joe Corley Detention Center, Marisa Franco, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Maru Mora Villalpando of Latino Advocacy in Seattle, Drm Action Coalition
“My dad is my hero and I’ll do whatever I have to so he can be home again,” explains Melanie Martinez, age 13, when asked why she and her mother came to Washington, DC as part of the on-going presence outside the White House.
Her mother, Ernestina Hernandez, who will speak today, traveled from Houston, TX to the White House after ICE deported her husband, Manuel Martinez, in retaliation for a hunger strike he participated in at the Joe Corley Detention Center where he had been held.
In recent months, such centers have been roiled by efforts (In Tacoma, WA, Eloy, AZ, Conroe, TX) of those inside to expose the mistreatment, subpar conditions, and the cost-cutting by the private companies who run them as part of the campaign to urge the President to stop deportations and expand relief. An additional hunger strike just became public at an El Paso, TX facility. And just yesterday, 19 people were arrested in civil disobedience at the Suffolk detention center in Boston that is currently embroiled in lawsuits stemming from a previous hunger strike by detainees there.
Preceding a 2:00pm Congressional briefing, representatives of the Texas and Washington state hunger strike and those who started an on-going presence at the White House on April 5th will host a press conference with the Detention Watch Network exposing the conditions inside the Detention Centers and urging DHS and ICE to address hunger strikers demands.
After the Press Conference, participants will hold a Congressional staffer briefing on Detention Center policies, conditions, and resistance. More information on the on-going presence outside the White House available at http://bit.ly/whstrike
WHAT: Vigil Supporting Detained Immigrants Refusing Food and Labor Inside Joe Corley
WHEN: Friday, April 4th, 7 PM
WHERE: Joe Corley Detention Facility, 500 Hilbig Rd, Conroe, TX, 77301
To kick off the National Day of Action to Stop Deportations, on the 19th day of hunger strike, all men detained at Joe Corley Detention Facility will join a 24-hour hunger and labor strike.
Inspired by the hunger strikers within the facility over the last 3 weeks, hundreds of men inside will join the strike. Although Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has used such extreme retaliation tactics as putting the strikers in solitary confinement, blocking communication with family members, and deporting several hunger strikers such as Manuel Martinez-Arambula yesterday, the men within Joe Corley remain resilient. Read more
Yesterday I got a call from Manuel Martinez-Arambula, one of the leaders of the hunger strike inside the Joe Corley Detention center, from Mexico. Without his family’s or his community’s knowledge, he had been deported in the middle of the night, as retaliation for his leadership in the hunger strike. That night was also Manuel’s 50th birthday.
While Manuel was being forced into a deportation van, immigration officers lied to us, and told us he was only being moved to another detention center.
Manuel had spent his life in the U.S., having lived here since he was 8 years old. His wife is a legal permanent resident and he has a 13 year old daughter who is a US citizen. He is a civil rights leader who had been on hunger strike for 10 days, protesting the conditions inside the detention center. He is one more of over a dozen organizers who have already been deported. Read more
Manuel Martinez-Arambula spent his childhood, adolescence, and formative years in the United States, calling this place home since he was 8 years old. Manuel’s daughter imagined celebrating her daddy’s 50th birthday at home with her. She imagined making him a homemade birthday card that he would cherish. Instead, she will be urging ICE to stop her father from being deported on his 50th birthday!
Going into his 16th day of hunger strike, Manuel Martinez-Arambula stated 10 days ago, on March 22, 2014, that “I 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.” On the same day, Manuel’s wife revealed that detention officials brought Manuel out with both chained hands and feet to visit with his wife and daughter. ICE has already deported 15 hunger strikers as an extreme retaliation tactic. They are now targeting Manuel. Read more
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.
Civil rights groups calls upon Attorney General Holder and
GEO Group to address detainee concerns
Houston, TX– The Texas Civil Rights Project–Houston (TCRP) is concerned about the basic living conditions within the Joe Corley Detention Center in Conroe, TX amidst reports that detainees are engaged in a hunger strike to protest subpar treatment. The hunger strike in Conroe marks the expansion of a multi-state effort by detainees to have their needs addressed. A similar hunger strike at the Tacoma Detention Center in Washington has now reached its twelfth day. The Geo Group, Inc., a publicly traded for-profit corporation, operates both the Tacoma and Conroe facilities.
TCRP Regional Director Amin Alehashem is concerned by the most recent developments, including threats of force-feeding and the placement of detainees in solitary confinement in Tacoma. “It’s clear that the detainees at both facilities are experiencing the same difficulties,” Alehashem said, referring to the detainees’ complaints about treatment, overcrowded cells, and lack of nutrition and medical care.
In response to the conditions, TCRP has sent a letter to Attorney General Holder, GEO Group, and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson urging them to appoint a mediator to intervene in the matter.
“Nobody should have to resort to a hunger strike to resolve matters about basic living conditions,” Alehashem said. “Force-feeding is not only unconstitutional, degrading, and dangerous, it also does nothing to solve the underlying problem. It just makes it worse. The government and the facility operators need to appoint a mediator and establish a dialogue with the detainees to effectively handle this matter, without using unconstitutional practices” Alehashem said.
HOUSTON, Texas— Families of detained men who have started a hunger strike at Joe Corley announced plans this afternoon to begin holding vigil outside the private prison in Conroe, Texas.
and said the detainees wanted it known that they were inspired by the on-going Washington State efforts.
Read two letter from the hunger strikers here: Letter 1, Letter 2.
An eight-page handwritten letter from the Washington State hunger strikers explaining their demands is available upon request. The letter states, in part, “[W]e join ourselves to that effort and demand that the Federal Executive (Mr. President Barack Obama) use his presidential authority and order a total stop to the unjust deportations that are separating families, destroying homes, and bringing uncertainty, insecurity and unhappy futures to our children, our loved ones.”
NotOneMoreDeportation.com is a campaign made of individuals, organizations, artists, and allies to expose, confront, and overcome unjust immigration laws.
As the immigration debate continues, #Not1More enters the discussion from the place that touches people in concrete ways and can offer tangible relief. By collectively challenging unfair deportations and unjust policy through organizing, art, legislation, and action, we aim to reverse criminalization, build migrant power, and create immigration policies based on principles of inclusion.
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