A group of lawmakers, including El Paso congresswoman Veronica Escobar, are demanding U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement put an end to force-feeding its detainees in El Paso.
The issue came up when 11 detainees began being force-fed after they held a hunger strike at an ICE processing center in El Paso. This is happening at the facility near Montana and Hawkins.
In order to force-feed a detainee, ICE has to have an order from a judge, which it has obtained.
In a letter sent to the ICE Acting Director Ronald Vitiello, 14 lawmakers said: “given that the United Nations recognizes forced-feeding as ‘tantamount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment’ it is critical that ICE commit to ending this practice.”
The letter also requests information about the cases themselves, ICE policies and procedures in place to protect detainees from retribution for striking. The lawmakers also asked why alternatives to detention are not being used in these cases.
Lawmakers are also asking Vitiello to provide daily updates on the hunger strike. They are requesting a meeting to discuss force-feeding and other areas of concern.