A hunger strike started on Presidents’ Day by immigrant detainees at the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona and later joined by outside activists has resulted in three arrests. Well-known undocumented youth and national immigration activist Erika Andiola, along with two other immigrants’ rights activists, were arrested on Tuesday after refusing to move from the camp they had set up for the protest.
Andiola left her job as a staffer for Congresswoman Kyrsten Synema late last year to focus on her mother’s deportation case:
After a short time as a congressional staffer – during the push to bring millions of people out the shadows in the U.S. – I am now needed most as a daughter to my mother. Immigration reform is still possible, but for me, the personal consequences of Washington’s inaction became too great to ignore
The protesters who were arrested were hunger striking in solidarity with six detainees–one of whom was deported mid-hunger strike–protesting the deportations that plague our broken immigration system, separating families in their wake.
The Eloy Detention center in Arizona has a notoriously bad reputation. The Dream 9 last year exposed horrifying conditions, including the punitive restriction of phone use and long periods of solitary confinement. The mistreatment and rape of a trans detainee as well as detainee suicides have also been documented at Eloy. Unfortunately, none of these things are particular to Eloy–they are endemic to detention centers across the country.
Verónica is an immigrant queer rabble-rouser.