ICE detainees in Newark on hunger strike

Essex County jail

At least 10 detainees at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, NJ, began a hunger strike March 17 and dozens more have agreed to join in, according to detainees, jailhouse advocates and attorneys. They are demanding to be released on bond, possibly with ankle bracelets to track their movements, and some even said they’re ready to be deported. Inside the jail, they have been following news reports on the COVID-19 pandemic, and say they’d rather die on the outside with family than locked in cells. They also say that if loved ones die, they want to be with them rather than hearing the bad news later. Essex County has a multi-million dollar contract with ICE to house detainees awaiting immigration proceedings. County officials said they are monitoring the situation. (WNYC)

According to ICE’s guidelines, detainees who do not eat for 72 hours must be referred to the medical department for evaluation. Detainees who refuse food for long periods of time are held down and force-fed through tubes in the nose. (Gothamist)

Photo: Gothamist