In the early morning of June 12, 2017, a group of eight Central American migrants decided to go on a hunger strike to protest conditions at the immigration detention center where they were being held in California.
When detainees arrive at the facility, they're given a handbook that states explicitly, "Detention is NOT prison." Immigration detention is where the government holds people while deciding whether to deport them, and most detainees have no criminal record. But this group said the conditions felt like those of a penitentiary.
Among their complaints:
The guards were discriminating against them, they lacked access to clean water, the bonds for their immigration cases were too expensive and they were receiving information only in English.
When detention officers ordered them to return to their beds for a routine population "count," the eight men refused to move from tables in the facility's day room until they could speak to a supervisor or an official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).