U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have confirmed this week that they are force-feeding detained undocumented immigrants who are currently in a hunger strike.
Forcing-feed is something that is extremely rare and what some people deem as inhumane. The men say they are protesting their unjust treatment as asylum seekers and the abusive conditions in the facilities, as well as the unsanitary environment of the detention centers. Some of them have not eaten or had any water for more than 30 days.
The Associated Press reports that at least 30 men at the El Paso Processing Center, Texas, are in a hunger-strike now, but The New York Times reports there are four other detainees across the country in other families who are also in a hunger strike.
So what does force-feeding entail? Ruby Kaur who is representing two immigrants detained in Texas said the procedure is so brutal on the body that some of them are reporting to her that they are “experiencing nasal and rectal bleeding and vomiting.”
“They have tubes that have been shoved through their noses and IV’s giving them fluids. It’s extremely painful, and it’s against their will,” Kaur said to NPR. This process occurs when a person has not eaten for “nine consecutive meals or 72 hours.”
“The ICE Health Services Corps is medically monitoring the detainees’ health and regularly updating ICE of their medical status,” ICE said in a statement, according to The New York Times. “Efforts are being taken to protect the detainees’ health and privacy.”
The Times also reports that many of the detainees are India nationals who came to the U.S. because they are fleeing persecution. Kaur goes on to say that this is the only way to detainees can be vocal about the inhumane way they are being treated in these centers, many of them who have been detained for months.
“You’re fleeing persecution, you come to this country, and you are being tortured here as well,” Kaur told The Times. “The only avenue they have is to peacefully protest.”