(AUSTIN, Texas) — Today, on day 9 of the #Hutto27 hunger strike, Texans United for Families (TUFF) called on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to immediately cease active retaliation and release three women who reported punishment for their role in a hunger strike that began at the T. Don Hutto detention center last week.
Reports emerged from inside Hutto this afternoon that at least six more women who are participating in the hunger strike are being rounded up for transfer inside the facility, even as ICE continues to deny that women are on strike. TUFF demands that all retaliation against women on hunger strike stop and that all women on hunger strike are immediately released.
Two women, Francisca and Amalia, have already been moved to a remote majority men’s detention center in Pearsall, Texas earlier this week, and Francisca’s family states she has been placed in solitary confinement there. Women in Hutto reported yesterday they were told the two women had been deported, and they would be as well if they continued striking. Maribel, a Garífuna woman from Honduras participating in the hunger strike, was held in isolation over the weekend and reported in a letter that she was placed in a freezing medical confinement room for engaging in the hunger strike and boldly denouncing conditions of her detention. Read her handwritten statement about what happened here. All 3 women played vital roles within the hunger strike.
Texans United for Families, an Austin-based immigrant rights organization, has begun a national campaign to asking ICE official Enrique Lucero in the San Antonio ICE field office and Esther Olavarria in the national DHS office to free the women who have face retaliation.
“Instead of retaliating against these women, all of whom are seeking asylum in the United States and have been held for more than 6 months, ICE should grant them prosecutorial discretion to immediately release them and allow them to fight their asylum cases while living with their family,” said Rocio Villalobos with Texans United for Families.
TUFF demands that ICE immediately ceases active retaliation, stops all transfers and deportations, and releases all three women already confirmed to have been retaliated against by Friday. We will take steps to ensure that ICE is held accountable to this demand.
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Grassroots Leadership is an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works to end prison profiteering and reduce reliance on criminalization and detention through direct action, organizing, research, and public education.
Cristina Parker, email@example.com, 512-499-8111