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Prisoners Launch Hunger Strike at Texas Immigration Jail

HeadlineFeb 10, 2010

In Texas, dozens of prisoners have gone on a hunger strike at a Los Fresnos immigration jail in protest of inhumane conditions. It’s at least the third hunger strike at the Port Isabel Detention Center in less than a year. On Tuesday, independent journalist Renee Feltz spoke to immigrant-rights activist Anayanse Garza of the Southwest Workers’ Union. Garza recounted an interaction with Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Acting Director of the Office of Detention Policy and Planning, Phyllis Coven. Garza was attending a meeting with Coven when she received a phone call from one of the hunger-striking prisoners.

Anayanse Garza: “At that point, I told her, ’There’s a hunger striker on the phone right now. He’s on hunger strike at the Port Isabel Detention Center.’ I put it on speaker-phone, and I took it to her. And I put it in front of her, and I told him, you know, 'Tell her. Tell her what's happening, because you have Phyllis Coven right now in front of you. She’s listening to what you’re saying.’ At that point, she picked up the phone, and she was going to close it, and I told her, 'Please don't hang up on him. He has to pay for that phone call. Please don’t hang up on him.’ And then, at that point, both Michael [unclear] and Phyllis Coven got up, and they left, and they turned their back on the community.”

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