Asylum seeker goes on hunger strike after being detained in El Paso for two years

El Paso News

After being detained in El Paso for two years, an asylum seeker from Venezuela took a drastic measure for his freedom.

Helenger Tijera Moreno recently went on a hunger strike because he believes ICE is being unjust for denying his humanitarian parole.

Moreno says he has a sponsor and that he isn’t a flight risk or a danger to the community.

The former Venezuelan military officer came to the U.S. in fear of being tortured or killed for opposing the Nicolas Maduro-led government.

A volunteer from Freedom for Immigrants, a local organization, has been visiting the facility regularly to check up on Moreno.

The group says his case isn’t the first they’ve seen, and that federal lawsuits have previously been filed against the El Paso ICE office for it.

“We have this one case of this one man, but there are also so many other people who have filed a request for parole and they are being denied systematically because of the Trump administration’s brutal policies,” Liz Martinez said.

The organization tells KTSM that Moreno has stopped his hunger strike after ICE intervened.

ICE sent KTSM the following statement:

On Sept. 4, 2016, Helegner Tijera-Moreno, 39, a Venezuelan national, arrived at a port of entry in El Paso, Texas, seeking admission without a valid immigrant visa. U.S. immigration authorities detained him and he was transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), where he has remained since, for removal proceedings. He remains in ICE custody pending disposition of his immigration case. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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