Detained Mothers Begin Hunger Strike

April 30, 2015 9:26 pm
by David Jakeman

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, but for some undocumented immigrant mothers, their situation is far from rosy. Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services conveyed the information that over 80 women started to fast as a Holy Week Hunger strike in the Karnes Family Detention Camp. Don’t let the name with “camp” fool you; it’s not a pleasant retreat for tired mothers seeking to enjoy some rest and quiet. It’s a difficult place for many facing the possibility of deportation.

Difficult Living Conditions

For the women and their families, living in the detention camp has been a difficult go. Some have been in the camp for almost over a year, and it has been very wearing. The mothers say that their children have not been eating well while in confinement, and as a result, their health has suffered. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has faced criticisms in the past for immigrant children having a difficult time maintaining their health because they’ve found the food to be unfamiliar.

To counter these accusations, ICE has said that the children have not lost weight.1 But since when has weight alone been a sign of health? One can lose weight and be healthier. One can also be maintain one’s weight or gain weight and diminish in health. Perhaps such standards of measurement are why immigrants find living in detention facilities so difficult. The standards of measurement are not always very holistic.

Hunger Strike

The number of women taking part in the hunger strike dropped when some women were held in isolation along with their children in the detention center. It will be interesting to see what will result from the hunger strike, but it has already made waves gaining some national attention. Hopefully it will provide the families with better living conditions and an ability to take care of their families.

It is already difficult enough to raise a family. Living in a detention center and trying to help children grow up healthy sounds like an incredible challenge. It is nice to see all the local groups working to help these families in need, but even they can’t solve the problems of a dysfunctional immigration system.

Many Texas immigration lawyers have had clients that have spent time in, or have faced spending time in immigration detention centers. Such experiences are not easy, and one can only hope that things will get better for these mothers and their families. Maybe if we’re lucky, they might get something better for Mother’s Day. One can only hope.

1 http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Moms-in-immigration-detention-start-hunger-strike-6170467.php#photo-7275417