Detained immigrants begin hunger strike in central Pa.

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At least three men are on a hunger strike in a York, Pennsylvania, detention facility to protest their incarceration on immigration charges.  Their families protested Tuesday outside the headquarters of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Philadelphia.

Pilar Molina’s husband, Israel Resendiz-Hernandez, was detained in January. The couple runs a grocery store and tortilla-making business in Norristown and have two daughters, both U.S. citizens.  “Now, I have to do everything by myself. I have to be mom and dad at the same time. And especially [when they’re] asking those questions, ‘Mom, when’s my dad going to come home?’ And they’re afraid that they’re not going to release them,” Molina said. Resendiz-Hernandez, Jobito Resendiz, and Donaldo Roel Hercules Vazquez have been refusing food for three days, their families say, and have been threatened with solitary confinement.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement representative said the three men in detention re-entered the U.S. after they were deported,  a felony, and that they will remain in custody pending review of their cases.

The group Dream Activist Pennsylvania claims that other detainees have joined them. A fourth man, Andres Chavez Hernandez, who was recently released but still faces deportation, is also fasting.

York is one of the largest immigration detention centers on the East Coast, with around 800 migrant detainees. 

The agency could not immediately confirm that a hunger strike is taking place but said that, “ICE holds the health and safety of our detainees as a principal concern. All detainees in question are carefully monitored by medical staff in accordance with the appropriate ICE detention standards.”

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