Florida, USA—Nine asylum seekers were released from an immigration jail on Monday following a 14-day hunger strike, according to the ACLU. Twenty-two asylum seekers , all Sikh Indian nationals participated in the strike, demanding that they be released while their asylum cases are evaluated. Thirteen of the Sikh men remain in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at the Broward Transitional Center, according to the group. ICE has been under increasing pressure to release asylum seekers who pose a low flight risk, especially women and children housed in family detention .
“Things should never have reached this extreme point,” ACLU of Florida staff attorney Shalini Agarwal said in a statement. “ICE needs to honor immigration enforcement priorities [and] use its prosecutorial discretion to not detain asylum seekers without bond, especially where they have demonstrated credible fear of persecution if returned to their home countries. Their granting of bond to some of these men is an important step, but there are many more detainees like them who shouldn’t be kept behind bars while their asylum proceedings are underway.”
Some of the men may have been subjected to forced feeding and solitary confinement, according to a letter sent to ICE by the ACLU on August 6th.
Jessica Shulruff, a supervising attorney at Americans for Immigrant Justice said in a statement that the Florida ICE detention center said that Broward does not extend reasonable bond measures to its inmates.
“ICE routinely denies asylum seekers at Broward Transitional Center (BTC) bond or release from detention even though they pose no flight risk or danger to the community, resulting in serious humanitarian and economic costs,” Shulruff said.