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Indian immigrants conclude hunger strike over detention

Several immigrants from India have ended an extended hunger strike designed to protest their continued detention inside a Texas holding facility. The approximately three dozen Indians chose to pursue the hunger strike because they want their asylum cases to finally be addressed. The immigrants are being held indefinitely in a Texas Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center.

Authorities report that the immigrants are part of a group of about 100 Indian men who fled their country by traveling to Mexico and crossing that nation's border with the United States. The undocumented immigrants were reportedly afraid for their lives because they were associated with a minority political party. Even though they have already been able to prove their identities and explain their rationale for coming to America, they are still being subject to unfair holding policies.

Undocumented immigrants who are applying for asylum are held in detention centers because of federal mandates until a credible fear hearing can be scheduled. Although having an asylum claim deemed "credible" may sound like a positive change, it can actually lead to applicants ending up in indefinite detention while they wait for their asylum cases to pass through the courts. Immigrants who have passed through the credible fear screening for the first time are often set free while their hearing is pending. Those asylum seekers who have already been deported before, on the other hand, are more likely to spend time in jail.

The 32 men in this case had passed their credible fear interview, but they were still unnecessarily detained. The men claim that they would be subject to persecution or torture in their native land, but asylum cases are notoriously difficult to prove. Still, immigrants have rights that should not be ignored. These individuals should not be held indefinitely simply because they are seeking asylum; they deserve their freedom while the hearings are still pending.

Source: ThinkProgress, "Three Dozen Asylum Seekers End Hunger Strike In ICE Detention, But They Have No Idea When They Will Get Out Esther Yu-Hsi Lee" Esther Yu-Hsi Lee, Apr. 22, 2014

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