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Mothers refuse to eat in protest of immigration detention

More than 20 mothers have begun a hunger strike to protest a situation at a detainment facility outside of Georgia. The women have claimed they left their homelands to escape violence and corruption. Since coming to the United States, the mothers say their families have been locked up in an immigration detention center and threatened by official personnel.

The women launched a hunger strike on a recent Monday, stating they hope their actions will be seen as a cry for help. The mothers have stated they intend to be freed of what they believe to be wrongful detainment, even if they have to starve to death. These statements and others were written by the women in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security Secretary.

The typical length of detainment in such situations is said to be 20 days or less. The women claim some of them and their children have been locked up for more than 300 days. Some have expressed concerns that the Berks County facility lost its license earlier in 2016; however, it has been allowed to remain active as a detention center during the appeals process.

Reportedly, the license revocation was connected to gross medical negligence and allegations that a woman being detained was raped by a guard. The women say they are very worried about their children, who range in ages from 2 to 16. They report that their children's health has gravely declined and many have also exhibited suicidal behaviors in their distress. Any immigrant in Georgia concerned with similar immigration detention issues can seek help by contacting an experienced immigration and naturalization attorney.

Source: immigrationimpact.com, "Why 22 Mothers Are On a Hunger Strike at the Berks Family Detention Facility", Wendy Feliz, Aug. 15, 2016

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