500 Immigrant Dads & Sons Go on Strike at Texas Detention Center

Lead Photo: The border fence between the United States and Mexico. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images
The border fence between the United States and Mexico. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images
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As recently arrived families languish at Karnes Detention Center in Texas, they have no idea when they’ll be released. That’s why a group of 500 dads and sons are striking, in hopes of pressuring the government to expedite their cases.

Already, the men and children detained have undergone a lot of trauma. The journey into the United States is not an easy one, with several obstacles and threats standing in their way. On top of the hardships they faced, the government ripped parents from children at the border under the Trump Administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy. While they have been reunited, they now bide their time in a cold and unwelcoming environment where no one, much less a child, can thrive.

The group was set to start their strike today, with dads refusing to eat and their children declining to participate in school activities. For Jorge, a Honduran man whose son was taken from him on May 12 but since reunited, he has not learned any new information about his case in about 10 days. And he has no idea what comes next. “The children no longer wanted to be here, detained,” Jorge said in a statement, according to BuzzFeed News. “We can’t stand it anymore. We are desperate. They should just do what they need to do, whether it is to deport us or allow us to be free to work with visas.”

Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a non-profit helping the families navigate the complicated immigration system, made the plan public to the media. As the dads and children protest the unfair conditions, there is concern about whether these fathers were coerced into signing deportation orders and forfeiting their asylum claims in exchange of being reunited with their children.