Over a hundred immigrants being held at three detention centers, including one in Otay Mesa and others in Orange County and Alabama, started a hunger strike last week to protest bed quotas requiring the U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement to imprison 34,000 people as a daily average.
A release from the group Not1More doesn't specify how many of the participating prisoners are housed at the Otay Detention Facility, but many are Bangladeshi members of the Bangladesh National Party, the country's main political opposition party and defined by the Department of Homeland Security as a "Tier III" terrorist organization due to ties to radical Islamic groups.
Hunger strikers argue that many have been held in detention for two years "despite either passing their credible fear [of persecution or torture if deported] for asylum or their consulates refusing to issue their travel documents for removal."
Demands include an end to detention and deportation for South Asian prisoners, an end to Customs quotas that the National Immigrant Justice Center says "prevent [Customs] from exercising discretion and expanding more efficient alternatives to detention (ATD) that would allow individuals who pose no risk to public safety to be released back to their families while awaiting immigration court hearings," a release of asylum seekers held in detention for six months or more, and improved living conditions for those who remain in detention.
"Many Bangladeshis are also passing miserable days in other detention centers across America," says Mahbubur, a detainee currently in custody in Etowah County Detention Center in Alabama. "They came to the United States with a hope to get asylum, but as their asylum applications have been denied and they are under order of deportation, in that case if they are deported to Bangladesh the present government will persecute them accusing them of creating unrest or vandalism by bringing false charges against them."