The following alert is circulated by Presente.org.
Women held in Texas Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prison work for $3/day, their children's health is deteriorating, and many haven't been given the opportunity to post a reasonable bond for their release.
Conditions have gotten so bad that 40 women went on a five-day hunger strike last week. Many of these women fled to the United States because they feared for their lives. Now they, and even their children, are being put in solitary confinement cells in the medical wing of the prison for participating in the strike. The mothers ended their hunger strike this past weekend and have given ICE 10 days to release them before escalating their demands.
Will you sign Presente.org's petition asking ICE to immediately release these women and their families? By doing so, you'll help Presente.org tell a powerful story in the media that increases scrutiny on ICE and forces the agency to treat these women like human beings.
If the Karnes County Residential Center sounds familiar to you, it may be because this isn't the facility's first brush with controversy. Last year, women who had been held at Karnes reported being sexually abused by male guards, who had 24/7 access to the rooms of the women and children held there.
According to some reports, 80 women began the hunger strike on Tuesday, but nearly half quit because they feared reprisals from prison officials, who threatened to separate children from any mothers caught organizing inside.
It's no wonder they're protesting — few of us would stand for the conditions in which these women are being held:
- Children are being intimidated by prison guards, including interrogations without a parent or an attorney present.
- Women earn just $3 each day doing laundry and other menial cleaning tasks at the prison.
- Water in Karnes City has been contaminated by fracking, so many women buy their water.
- Paralegals and other legal aid workers have been banned from the facility for reporting what it's like inside.
But most importantly, the women inside aren't being given the opportunity to pay a reasonable bond for their release until they can see an immigration judge who will decide on their requests for asylum.