In Solidarity With the Hunger Strikes in U.S. Immigrant Detention Centers

Nov 10, 2015
11:04 AM


We — migrants, deported, investigators and activists in migration — express our support and solidarity with the hunger strikes occurring in diverse immigrant detention centers in the United States: #Hutto27, #ElPaso54, #LaSalle14 and #Adelanto in the last two weeks.

The first of them began October 14, when 54 migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan started a hunger strike in the immigrant detention center in El Paso, Texas.

A second hunger strike occurred in the La Salle detention center in Louisiana, after some migrants were transferred from El Paso, Texas without due process — if one can speak of it in the framework of the legal limbo that detained migrants are subjected to by U.S. immigration authorities.

The third strike began October 28 in California, in Adelanto Detention Facility, where approximately 20 men, the majority from Central America, joined the protest.

The fourth protest, also begun on October 28 in the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas, is led by 27 detained women, all from Mexico and Central America. In written messages published by the strikers, which circulate thanks to the work of the group GrassRoot Leadership, the migrants explain the motives behind their strike:

They affirm that their lives are at risk if they’re deported to their countries of origin from which they fled due to widespread violence and especially due to concrete threats made toward some of the women by different actors. Therefore they demand to remain in the United States legally for humanitarian reasons. In those same letters, the hunger-striking migrants describe mistreatments in the detention center and poor nutrition, [and] the violation of their fundamental rights such as judicial due process. But above all, some of the hunger strikers say they’re in the struggle because they’re mothers separated from their children who are already North Americans (or who split their nationality) and run the same risk of being deported.

As a response to the fight of these Mexican and Central American women, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency charged with the management of the detention center where the strike is taking place, has attempted to suppress and punish the acts of resistance by the women of Hutto,  isolating them in solitary confinement as well as openly threatening to deport them.

In the context of widespread unregulated violence toward the migrants, from their places of origin, to the transit territories and not infrequently the North American cities of destination, the demand of the women migrants hunger-striking today seems, in addition to logical, urgent of attention.

The violence against the women is well documented, as well as the violence against the poor migrants who try to reach the United States by defying U.S. immigration policies. In the passage forced to be undertaken by many who are fleeing violence and poverty, or both, in their countries, there are also kidnappings, extortion, rape — in general, extreme violence — made worse by the policies of “migration management” that are coordinated between the governments of North and Central America, which don’t halt the migration, but which make the journey for those fleeing much longer and more dangerous.

For all of the above, we express our deepest solidarity with the migrant prisoners in U.S. detention centers, and we particularly send a sisterly embrace of rage and hope to our hunger-striking sisters in Hutto. For us, their action is an example of dignity that resonates among the women in the country they had to abandon.

Through this simple manifesto we echo their demands and call for a stop to the social and institutional violence against migrants in the United States. At the same time we condemn the racist immigration policies of the United States, but also of our governments, which suffocate the lives of migrants who only seek a decent life. We condemn the criminalization of migrants, the detentions and the massive deportations taking place systematically in the United States.

Because NO HUMAN BEING IS ILLEGAL, in solidarity with our migrant sisters and brothers!


Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez Aguilera (doctoral candidate,The University of Texas at Austin), Amarela Varela (Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México), Blanca Laura Cordero Díaz (Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla), Marcela Ibarra (Universidad Iberoamericana, Puebla), Martha Sanchez Soler (Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano), Claudia de Anda (Colectiva Poéticas, Universidad Católica de Lovaina), Sylvia Marcos, Marlene Solís Pérez (research professor, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte), Lorena Wolffer, Mariana Mora (research professor, Centro de Investigación y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social), Eduardo Baumeister (research associate, Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Sociales y Desarrollo, Central America), Márgara Millán (profesora investigadora, Centro de Enseñanza de Lenguas Extranjeras, UNAM) Alfonso Gonzales (research professor, The University of Texas at Austin), Carmen Fernández Casanueva (research professor, CIESAS), Ana Carcedo Cabañas (president, Centro Feminista de Información y Acción, Costa Rica), Rosalva Aida Hernández Castillo (research professor, CIESAS), Susana Vargas Evaristo (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Miguel Ángel Paz Carrasco (Voces Mesoamericanas, Acción con Pueblos Migrantes, A.C.), Sandra Aguilera Arriaga (Educación Contracorriente A.C.), Midiam Moreno López (medical researcher, Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría “Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz”), Arantxa Robles Santana (Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain), Lucía Lagunes Huerta (general coordinator, Comunicación e Información de la Mujer), Luciana Ramos Lira (Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría “Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz”), Margarita Núñez Chaim (master’s degree, CIESAS), Noé López (doctoral candidate, The University of Texas at Austin), Cristóbal Sánchez Sánchez (Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia), Leticia Calderon Chelius (migration studies, Instituto Mora), Magdalena Sofía de la Peña P. (Coordinación Programa de Asuntos Migratorios, PRAMI), Laura Aguirre (Free University of Berlin), Isabel Vericat (migrant with a home and a mother), Nancy Lombardini Vega (doctoral candidate, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Xochimilco), Lucía Melgar (cultural critic, Mexico City), Mara Girardi, Maria Lourdes Pallais, Rosa María Aguilera Guzmán (Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría “Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz”), Iliana González Rodarte, Universidad Iberoamericana Torreón, Centro De Derechos Humanos Fray Matías, Mesa de Migración,  #YoSoy132, Colectivo Cultura Migrante (México), Terra Nuova, Shannon Speed (professor, The University of Texas at Austin), Gladys Tzul Tzul (BUAP).