Exclusive: Detained Honduran Woman, Moved to Mostly Male TX Prison After Hunger Strike, Speaks Out

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Image Credit: Human Rights First
At the end of October, 27 immigrant women detainees began a hunger strike, demanding an end to mistreatment and their immediate release from the T. Don Hutto detention center near Austin, Texas. Most of the women were asylum seekers from Central America, which has seen a surge in migrants fleeing violence and abuse. The hunger strike reportedly surged to as many as 125 women, even as immigration officials denied it was taking place. Then, the hunger strikers said they faced retaliation. At least two women who participated in the hunger strike were transferred from the women’s detention center near Austin to an overwhelmingly male detention center run by the GEO Group, another major private prison operator, in Pearsall, Texas, nearly 200 miles away. On Thursday, one of those two women, Amalia Leal, a Honduran asylum seeker, called Democracy Now!’s Amy Littlefield from detention. She has been detained for seven months after re-entering the United States following a prior deportation. “We came to seek refuge, and instead we found punishment,” Leal said.
To see our interview with Francisca Morales Macías, a Mexican domestic abuse survivor who was transferred along with Amalia Leal after taking part in the hunger strike, click here.
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