First, more than 80 mothers started a hunger strike in the immigrants detention center. The camp’s authorities threatened them, and proceed to separate them and put them in different facilities. Today, 20 to 25 women are still on strike, in their quest to release their children, who have been jailed with them for months.
The number of participants in the strike at the Karnes Detention Camp, in Texas, is not what’s important here. What matters is the injustice of locking up for long periods of time women and children, many of whom have demonstrated that real threats await them in their countries of origin if they come back.
Most asylum seekers who come to this country fleeing danger are not actually treated as criminals, locked-up against their will until their case is resolved. The mothers should be receiving the same treatment. However, political motives outside their responsibility make them receive an unfavorable treatment.
The federal government wants to show them as an example of what will happen to other undocumented mothers who cross the border seeking asylum, to discourage them from the passage. The courts removed months ago a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy that allowed them to being released on bail. They can still do that today, but the new $15,000 bail is too high for them, so they remain confined will their children.
The politics of discouragement continue.
Interestingly, some people try to play down those women’s actions by spreading rumors that the strike has been promoted by organizations seeking their release, as if they themselves were happy just seeing their children grow up in confinement and losing weight because of the deficient food, as they have denounced.
Easter is a season of struggle for those mothers who, with this hunger strike, are seeking to raise their children in a normal fashion. They fled the violence in their cities, braving the dangerous crossing to the North. Today, they keep struggling to be considered as human beings instead of just a dehumanized example to scare off other mothers.