Verónica Escobar Calls for Investigation of Force-Feeding in ICE Detention
Recent reports detail the deeply troubling force-feeding of immigrant detainees on hunger strike by ICE in several states. Congresswoman Verónica Escobar (D-TX) is demanding an explanation of the legal process and policy considerations pertaining to the involuntary tube-feeding of ICE detainees. She and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) led 47 of their colleagues in the letter to Homeland Security Office of Inspector General Acting Director John V. Kelly calling on him to investigate the on-site conditions of ICE detention facilities. They also point out that force-feeding detainees may violate the UN Convention Against Torture. “According to detainees and advocates, the purpose of the hunger strikes in El Paso and elsewhere is to call attention to mistreatment and abuse in immigration detention. Yet, rather than addressing those complaints, ICE is force-feeding detainees and reportedly taking other punitive measures, including solitary confinement. Some detainees allege that detention officers ridicule them and threaten them with deportation, despite their future immigration status being dependent on due process,” the lawmakers wrote. “If accurate, these complaints reveal unequivocal abuses of power that violate the rights of detainees.” They go on to write, “We implore you to exercise your oversight responsibilities to make improving conditions at immigration detention facilities a top priority for ICE and ensure the humane treatment of detainees in federal custody.” Read the full letter here.