(July 24, 2018, Los Angeles) – Eight asylum seekers who went on a hunger strike in June 2017 to protest deplorable conditions at the Adelanto Detention Facility, a private prison used to hold immigrants asking for asylum, today sued the prison, as well as local and federal government entities.
Some of the asylum seekers and their families gathered at a rally today in front of ICE headquarters in Los Angeles to denounce the conditions they endured at Adelanto, including being forced to eat rotten, inedible food, not getting enough water to drink, and being denied access to their attorneys and their families.
The asylum seekers joined with allies from CLUE, CHIRLA, Al Otro Lado , NDLON, Freedom for Immigrants, The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Northeast Valley Green Alliance, SFV Refugee Children Center, Inc., and others to tell their stories.
“These asylum seekers were treated like criminals – worse than criminals – merely because they sought refuge in this country, which is their legal right,“ said Rachel Steinback, who is representing the asylum seekers. “In retaliation for their peaceful request to try to improve their living conditions, GEO guards restrained them, doused their faces, heads, chests and private parts with pepper spray, and beat them.”
The asylum seekers have courageously stood up to affirm their humanity. They seek a declaration that GEO’s practices are illegal and that their due process rights, as well as those of all other immigrants in the custody of the government, must be honored. Ultimately, through this civil rights lawsuit, they hope to ensure that immigrants will no longer be treated with cruelty.
“The Trump Administration’s unrelenting attacks on immigrants are not only appalling, they violate the Constitution,” Steinback said. “We stand today with them to demand that the federal government follow the laws that govern it, that it stop scapegoating and – as in this case – traumatizing people who are exercising their lawful human right to ask for asylum, and to get justice for these men and their families.”
As CLUE, we educate, organize, and mobilize the faith community to accompany workers and their families in their struggle for good jobs, dignity, and justice.