Meanwhile, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officials (ICE) are nasally force-feeding at least half a dozen detainees engaged in hunger strikes to protest conditions at the Texas facility to which they have been imprisoned.
One striking prisoner, identified only by his first name, Singh, reported:
“They tie us on the force-feeding bed, and then they put a lot of liquid into the tubes, and the pressure is immense so we end up vomiting it out. We can’t talk properly, and we can’t breathe properly. The pipe is not an easy process, but they try to push it down our noses and throats.”
Needless to say, this is causing them extreme pain.
New York University (NYU) School of Medicine professor Dr. Arthur Caplan told the New York Times:
“You put in a tube through the nose, and then you pour a nutritional formula through the tube. Putting the tube through the nose is often painful, particularly if the person is resisting.”
“You’re fleeing persecution, you come to this country, and you are being tortured here as well. The only avenue they have is to peacefully protest.”
To those who might trot out the lie that “Obama did it too,” consider that, according to Christina Fialho, co-executive director of the nonprofit Freedom for Immigrants, who told ABC News:
“Since May 2015, we’ve documented nearly 1,400 people who’ve been on strike in 18 different facilities and never witnessed force-feeding. Force-feeding seems like an escalation on ICE’s retaliatory tactics.”
Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) visited the striking asylum seekers last week.
“I immediately requested a visit, and was able to spend several hours this afternoon at the detention facility talking to personnel and to 6 detainees being force-fed, many of whom have been detained for 15-18 months. El Paso and our country are better than this.”
Human Rights Watch has called on ICE to stop this “inherently cruel, inhuman and degrading” practice.
The civil rights group explained in a statement:
“Medical ethics and human rights norms generally prohibit the force-feeding of detainees who are competent and capable of rational judgment as to the consequences of refusing food. Hunger striking is a desperate expressive act. In immigration detention, it can be a response to the irrationality of prolonged and needless detention.”
No matter how we try to explain it away, we are running concentration camps at our Southern border.
Those one whom we are inflicting this torture will have to live with the repercussions for the rest of their lives.
As a nation, so will we.
Image credit: Flickr