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Tues 4/14: National Press Briefing with Representatives of Hunger Striking Mothers in Detention

For immediate release
Contact: B. Loewe, 773.791.4668, [email protected]

Detained Mothers at Karnes to Restart Hunger Strike and Work Stoppage
Call: 712.432.0075 code: 893316

What: Press Briefing with Representatives of Hunger Striking Mothers in Detention
Where: 712.432.0075 code: 893316
When: 12:00pm Eastern Time, Tuesday April 14th, 2015
Who:            Andrea Cristina Mercado, Co-chair, We Belong Together campaign
Mohammad Abdollahi, Advocacy Director, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES)
Cristina Parker, Immigration Projects Coordinator, Grassroots Leadership
Representative from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas
Kenia Galeano, a 26-year-old mother and asylum seeker from Honduras who was detained with her 2 year old son for 5 months at the Karnes detention facility

If Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials do not meet the demands of mothers in the Karnes family detention center bytomorrow, Tuesday, April 14th, they have pledged to restart the hunger strike and work stoppage they initiated during Holy Week to protest their and their children’s mistreatment and unjust detention.

That week, 80 mothers refused to work or eat to bring attention to their imprisonment and demand their immediate release.  In response, authorities at the privately run facility, placed mothers, like Kenia Galeano who will join the call, in isolation. The strike concluded on Good Friday giving ICE ten days to address their grievances.

With the hunger strike featured in New York Times Magazine, the reversal of previous Administration policy that stood against imprisoning immigrant children is drawing critique to the new ICE Director, Sarah Saldaña, and the President who instructed DHS last Spring to make immigration policy ‘more humane.’

The Administration’s policy of detaining asylum seeking mothers and children as part of a “deterrence strategy” has also come under fire in the courts recently with a class action lawsuit filed by the ACLU and the immigration clinic at the University of Texas law school.

In solidarity with the women inside Karnes, supporters will deliver 4,000 signatures on a petition to ICE Director Sarah Saldaña at the ICE Headquarters in DC requesting their immediate release.

Sameera Hafiz of We Belong Together, who visited Karnes last September wrote in a recent op-ed:

There is a laundry list of what makes the specific facility unbearable: allegations of sexual abuse by guards and staff have emerged; many children experience weight loss and chronic despair; and the area where Karnes is located is a host for major fracking operations, where its residents complain of contaminated drinking water and unhealthy air… But the mothers on strike this week are not just asking for redress, they’re demanding freedom for themselves and their children.

Press may join the call by dialing: 712.43.0075 code: 893316