Immigrants on Hunger Strike in Protest of ICE Detention Facility Conditions

Posted on 12/08/20

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, ICE facilities have left immigrants vulnerable without necessary personal protective equipment, social distancing, and testing. Legal challenges have been made as to whether immigrant detainees should be released while they await their court appearance to ensure the limited spread of the Covid-19 virus. But these legal actions have all fallen short as immigrant detainees continue to fall victim to poor management and remain concerned for their health. The conditions within Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities have gone against CDC recommendations. This year has been filled with a whirlwind of alleged misconduct in ICE facilities ranging from forced hysterectomies to children not being able to be reunited with their parents. ICE officials have countered these concerns and have blatantly denied them in almost every form. Detainees that were released early this year communicated their concerns and were left without answers. In a recently published article from the HuffPost, immigrants in a Hackensack, New Jersey ICE detention center have resorted to hunger strikes to either improve conditions or be immediately released. Hunger strikes within the most developed country should not happen, no matter the cause for detention. Each human being deserves the necessities to live a fair and healthy life. Some ICE facilities are jeopardizing the health of detainees, which goes against all government recommendations, and ultimately international human rights laws.

Most undocumented immigrants have fled countries that have been torn by war, gang violence, sex trafficking, political oppression, and economies in despair. The United States has always been a land of opportunity, where if you work hard to pursue your American dream you’ll accomplish it. But over the past several decades, immigrants have growingly been under suspicion as the culprit for why the country has been failing. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Gabriela Pucha, a 24-year-old activist in the fight to release the detainees in the facility was one of almost a dozen protestors. Gabriela’s support for the handful of immigrants on a hunger strike has extended to establishing communication with at least two detainees. The detainees have complained about unsanitary conditions, heat being turned off, and the lack of medical attention within the jail. Their concerns have continued to grow amid rising cases throughout the country, especially in New Jersey. A spokesperson from an ICE field office refuted Ms. Puchas’s statement on unsanitary conditions but failed to comment any further on the other accusations.

Immigrants have been at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 considering their poor health or underlying conditions that make them extremely vulnerable to the novel coronavirus. Immigration officials should take into consideration the concerns of detainees and protesters. They must protect the health of thousands of detainees while mitigating the spread of Covid-19. We understand the Covid-19 pandemic will be a difficult challenge to overcome. Even with detainees being released, their journey doesn’t stop, and in fact, it just gets more complicated. To ensure your rights are acted upon and that all means are taken to secure your pathway to legalization, you should contact an award-winning legal team in Connecticut.

The challenges immigrants face during these trying times are unprecedented. Living in fear of being separated from your loved ones or being denied your fundamental human rights is unacceptable. Immigrants need a fighter by their side to pursue all legal remedies on their behalf, when appropriate. For nearly two decades and after representing thousands of immigrants, Attorney James A. Welcome has been distinguished as a prominent immigration Attorney. Representing clients throughout the nation and internationally, Attorney Welcome has learned of the challenges immigrants have faced while offering a personable bond to each of his clients. The team at The Law Offices of James A. Welcome believes in protecting the rights of the most vulnerable while advocating on behalf of their clients. As a New England Super Lawyer, and one of the Northeast’s top-rated immigration law firms, you can rest knowing your calls and your questions will be answered. We wouldn’t take your case unless we knew we could help you, so contact our team to begin your journey.

Visit for 24/7 support or contact us directly at (203) 753-7300.