According to information confirmed by Raha Jorjani of the School of Law Clinical Programs at University of California, Davis, at least 30 immigration detainees have been refusing some or all meals at Pinal County Jail in Florence, Arizona. The hunger strikers are among some 60 detained immigrants who were transferred on or around Sept. 5 from the Florence Service Processing Center to the county jail, which has a new contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to provide bed space for immigration detainees.
The detainees say they were promised they wouldn’t lose any rights or privileges in the transfer. But they were woken up in the early hours of the morning to be moved out of the Florence Service Processing Center and many were not allowed to gather their personal property, including legal documents relating to their cases. Since they arrived at the county jail they have apparently been on 23-hour lockdown in 2-person cells, and there is no outdoor recreation area. There have also been very serious complaints about food and water quality. In addition, Pinal County Jail only allows family visitation to take place through video conferencing; no contact visits are allowed. Some of the transferred detainees who are facing imminent removal had planned for what they expected to be their final contact visits with family before being deported. Now they will be unable to see their families. (E-mail message from Raha Jorjani, University of California, Davis School of Law Clinical Programs, Sept. 7)
From Immigration News Briefs, Sept. 9
See our last post on the immigration crackdown.