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Detained Immigrants at San Antonio-Area Facility On Hunger Strike for Their Release 

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On Thursday, August 2, fathers detained at Karnes Detention Center, 52 miles outside of San Antonio, staged a hunger strike and protest to demand their release, according to a RAICES press statement.

The group said immigrants were being held at the detention facility without receiving any information on their immigration status from ICE officials. Reports from ICE seemed to be incongruent with that of RAICES in terms of the size of the strike. This, however, is unsurprising to the organization considering ICE's alleged history of dishonesty. Recently, they reportedly masked deportation documents as reunification papers to these same detained individuals.

"The dads are on a hunger strike and refusing to obey any directions from ICE and GEO guards," said RAICES Communications Director Jennifer Falcon "Karnes is not a 'summer camp.' It is an internment camp housing vulnerable fathers and their sons jailed in their care," she continued.

The nonprofit also has audio recording of one father speaking on his situation during strike.

"What worries me is that we are restrained from our freedom as human beings. Our children are crying," an imprisoned father at Karnes County Internment Camp told RAICES in Spanish about why he chose to participate in the strike. "It is so bad in here, we were told that one of the detainee's son tried to hang himself."

RAICES, whose mission is to serve in the best interest of immigrants and has assisted with more than 51,000 legal cases just last year, said in a statement Thursday that Karnes staff has a history of abuse of power — citing a previous hunger strike where officials threatened to deem mothers "unavailable" to parent their children if they continued.

With new stories of atrocities breaking everyday, including issues of child sexual abuse at immigrant shelters, activist groups and nonprofit legal services are working nationally to disrupt and deter ICE. Now, detained immigrants are doing the same.

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