This week at Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes County, Texas, about 80 mothers imprisoned with their children began a hunger and work strike to demand their immediate release. In a letter smuggled out of the facility these mothers have written that they will not work, or send their children to school or use any services there, until they are heard and their asylum cases approved.
The prison named “Karnes County Residential Center” is run by the GEO Group. The majority of the families detained in this prison are asylum seekers who are trying to escape the harsh oppressive conditions that were brought about by the comprador class and U.S. imperialism in their countries. They are indefinitely locked up here while they anxiously await a decision or progression of their asylum applications. They can’t get out on bail since the judges set the bail to an impossibly high amount for these families, and the $3 prison workdays don’t exactly fatten up the piggy bank for them to help themselves.
We must remember that most of these asylum cases are denied, in which case the families get deported back to the violence they were trying to escape from in the first place, violence that the U.S. is directly responsible for. But the thought of being deported to face rape and murder is not their only worry in the so called “residential center.” The prison guards at the center have access to the cells 24 hours a day. Inmate women have reported rape and other forms of sexual assault perpetrated against them, some in front of their children. Karnes City, Texas, is also home to major fracking operations which means their drinking water is contaminated. Mothers have expressed seeing weight loss in their children as a result of them being served rancid food.
Given the white-supremacist, heteropatriarchal, capitalist-imperialist history of the United States, it is unsurprising that the U.S. would have such treatment in store for people seeking refuge. Let’s remember that the majority of the people coming here were made refugees in the first place because of U.S. imperialists and local reactionaries choking the masses of the people in countries such as Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Thus, when these victims of imperialism flee here for asylum they’re shoved into prisons as if quarantined for a deadly disease.
For capitalists like GEO Group that profit off of prisons, this is only the perfect opportunity to reap more. GEO Group is not concerned with the conditions of the prisons they run or the health and wellbeing of the prisoners they’re so eager to keep locked up hence the absence of action against sexual misconduct by prison guards, the neglect and poor living conditions in the prisons. These families walked, rode on the roofs of trains, crammed into trucks or buses for thousands of miles, for weeks or months, to come here. People died on the trip up here, all but to face neglect and disregard for the horror they’ve survived.
We support the action these mothers and their families have taken up. We demand that they are freed from prison and are granted legal immigrant status and not be thrown back into the violence they escaped.
Victory to the families of Karnes County Prison!
Asylum for everyone escaping US-cause violence in Central America!
Close down all detention centers!
Freedom to all immigrant detainees!