Monday, June 12, 2017

Asylum seekers launch hunger strike today

Razor Wire. Photo credit: Greg Chiasson Flickr

Nine detained asylum seekers in the US began a hunger strike this morning from inside Adelanto Detention Center in Victorville, California, an immigration detention center run by the private prison corporation GEO Group. They demand political asylum and better detention conditions. The #Adelanto9 say they won't eat until the US government responds to their demands and agrees to negotiate.

The reasons they cite for the hunger strike are:
  1. Bail set at impossibly high levels
  2. Denial of the right to political asylum
  3. Humiliation and discrimination towards the detained
  4. Facilitation of the paperwork and processing of the detained
  5. Bad food
  6. Incompetence of medical staff
  7. Paperwork is issued in English

    Their demands:

  1. Bail set fairly for all prisoners
  2. Political asylum
  3. New uniforms. They claim that they're being issued underwear that has been used by other people. 
  4. More time for religious services
  5. No throwing away detainees’ belongings
  6. All paperwork must be in native languages. Paperwork in English is incomprehensible to them.
  7. Clean water 24 hours a day
  8. Better food for detainees
  9. The entire group of hunger strikers demand that to be released on their own recognizance as quickly as possible. They do not have the resources to pay inflated bond amounts.
The nine men are participants from the Migrant Pilgrimage, the caravan of Central American refugees which crossed Mexico during April and May to seek political asylum.

They are asylum seekers from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. They claim that their records are clean, none have prior criminal records. The bail is set impossibly high. The bail, they say, is "a humiliating joke because we are poor, we don’t have that kind of money."

Isaac Lopez Castillo
Marvin Grande Rodriguez
Alexander Burgos Mejia
Jose Cortez Diaz
Omar Rivera Martinez
Luis Peña Garcia
Julio Barahona Cornejo
Josue Lemus Campos
Julio Valladares Jimenez

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