As many as 27 women housed at the T. Don Hutto detention center are participating in a hunger strike, according to a news release from a pro-immigrant rights group.
The women, most of whom are fleeing violent and deadly circumstances back home, refused dinner Wednesday night and are demanding to be released immediately, according to the release from Texans United for Families.
A call placed to officials at the detention center went unanswered as of Wednesday evening.
TUFF, a volunteer-run organization, has been demanding the closure of the Hutto detention center, located in Taylor, outside of Austin, for more than nine years, when the facility was used as a family detention center, the release states.
While in detention, the women are expected to fight their legal cases with little to no representation from an attorney, the release said. In their letters announcing the hunger strike, made available by TUFF, the women write about the mistreatment in the detention centers and how they are suffering because of their legal cases, according to the news release.
“TUFF stands behind these women and we are here to echo their demand: to release them immediately. We also want to remind ICE and CCA officials that we are watching for retaliation and we will not stand by if they retaliate against the Hutto 27,” a TUFF official said in a prepared statement, referring to the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as the company that runs the detention facility. Read more about As many as 27 women go on hunger strike at immigrant detention center