Democrats want investigation of immigration officials force-feeding immigrants

/ AP

Immigration fact check ahead of Trump's SOTU

Nearly 50 Democratic lawmakers called for a watchdog investigation of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Tuesday after the agency confirmed it had been force-feeding immigrant detainees on a hunger strike.

Reporting by The Associated Press revealed late last month that nine Indian men who were refusing food at a Texas detention facility were being force-fed through nasal tubes against their will.

On Thursday, all force-feeding at the detention center near the El Paso airport abruptly stopped after a U.S. district judge said the government had to stop involuntarily feeding two of the detained immigrants.

The 49 lawmakers are calling for the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General to investigate on-site conditions of ICE facilities and the policies surrounding the involuntary force-feeding of immigrant detainees. Earlier this month, the Geneva-based United National human rights office said that the United States could be violating the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

"We implore you to exercise your oversight responsibilities to make improving conditions at immigration detention facilities a top priority for ICE and ensure the humane treatment of detainees in federal custody," said the letter spearheaded by Oregon Democratic Rep. Suzanne Bonamici and Texas Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar, who toured the El Paso Processing Center and met with the men after the initial reports of the force-feeding. "These complaints reveal unequivocal abuses of power that violate the rights of detainees."

ICE declined to comment directly on the request for an investigation Tuesday but said the agency has "a strict zero-tolerance policy for any kind of abusive or inappropriate behavior in its facilities." The agency said that if allegations of inappropriate behavior surfaced, they would be investigated by DHS Office of the Inspector General and ICE's Office of Professional Responsibility.

"For their health and safety, ICE closely monitors the food and water intake of those detainees identified as being on a hunger strike," the agency said in a statement. "ICE does not retaliate in any way against hunger strikers."

The inspector general's office did not immediately return a call or email seeking comment.

Detained immigrants have sporadically staged hunger strikes around the country for years, protesting conditions they face while seeking asylum.

ICE said Tuesday 13 immigrants from Cuba, India, Mexico and Nigeria held in detention facilities nationwide were refusing food, but none were being force-fed. That included 10 detainees at the El Paso Processing Center, one at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia, one at the Krome Service Processing Center in Florida, and one at the Central Arizona Correctional Center.

One hunger striker in El Paso, an asylum seeker from the Indian state of Punjab, had previously described the process as involving being dragged from his cell three times a day and strapped down on a bed as a group of people poured liquid into tubes inserted into his nose.

Force-feeding, which began under court order earlier this year, had not previously been reported. Before it began in El Paso, advocates said they weren't aware it had happened before.

First published on February 20, 2019

© 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Democrats want investigation of ICE force-feeding immigrants

Nearly 50 Democrats have called for an investigation after immigration officials confirmed the force-feeding

updated 11M ago

Claim these tax deductions — even if you can't itemize

Also known as "above the line deductions," these special provisions can be big money-savers

updated 12M ago

It's Samsung's turn to reveal its newest smartphone lineup

The question looming over its high-profile launch event: Will the new models and features be enough to boost sales?

updated 42M ago

Battle royale in online games: "Apex Legends" smashes "Fortnite"

"Fortnite" is no longer the record holder for game downloads and viewership, with EA's "Apex Legends" charging ahead

updated 42M ago

Why Priscilla Chan wants to turn inmates into coders

The wife of Mark Zuckerberg believes it's not only possible, but that tech companies would be willing to hire felons

updated 33M ago

Democrats want investigation of ICE force-feeding immigrants

Nearly 50 Democrats have called for an investigation after immigration officials confirmed the force-feeding

updated 11M ago

Oregon considers lowering voting age to 16-years-old

Several state lawmakers are introducing a bill that would ask voters to amend the Oregon Constitution to lower the voting age from 18 to 16

1H ago

Iowa lawmakers reject anti-vaccine proposals

A state Senate subcommittee voted against advancing the bill that would have created the Vaccination Safety and Right of Refusal Act

1H ago

Hogan, mulling primary challenge, says Trump is "his own worst enemy"

The Republican Maryland governor known for his straight-talking style was re-elected in November by double digits in a blue state

updated 45M ago

Barack Obama, Steph Curry team up for "My Brother's Keeper" event

The duo spoke to roughly 100 boys attending the alliance's first national gathering in Oakland, California

1H ago

Putin says Russia will retaliate if U.S. puts missiles in Europe

Russian leader didn't say what specific new weapons Moscow could deploy, but his statement further raised the ante in tense relations with Washington

updated 8M ago

Huawei founder says he would defy Chinese law on intel gathering

Chinese company is the largest seller of telecommunications equipment in the world

1H ago

Survivors plan to give pope ultimatum at clergy sex abuse summit

Shaun Dougherty never imagined his very personal crusade against Catholic clergy sexual abuse would lead him to the Vatican

2H ago

Hanoi barber offers free Trump, Kim hairdos ahead of summit

He says it's a way to show the people of Hanoi welcome the summit, since the Vietnamese capital is a city of peace

4H ago

Teenage girl who joined ISIS losing citizenship, lawyer says

Shamima Begum left Britain four years ago to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

15H ago

ACM Awards 2019: Full list of nominees

Country music icon Reba McEntire, who's hosting the ACM Awards for the 16th time this year, reveals the nominations

updated 11M ago

Testimony in Jussie Smollett case scrapped after "Hail Mary" phone call

CBS News source says the last-minute call from "Empire" actor's lawyers apparently is what scuttled grand jury testimony from two brothers

2H ago

Burberry apologizes for "noose" hoodie

The brand's CEO and creative director weighed in after an uproar followed Instagram posts by model Liz Kennedy decrying the item

updated 2M ago

Netflix reveals star-studded cast for "Green Eggs and Ham"

Even if you don't love green eggs and ham, you will love this cast

7H ago

Meghan Markle spotted in NYC amid rumors of secret baby shower

Abigail Spencer, a co-star on Meghan's former TV show "Suits," was spotted at one of the gatherings

13H ago

It's Samsung's turn to reveal its newest smartphone lineup

The question looming over its high-profile launch event: Will the new models and features be enough to boost sales?

updated 42M ago

Battle royale in online games: "Apex Legends" smashes "Fortnite"

"Fortnite" is no longer the record holder for game downloads and viewership, with EA's "Apex Legends" charging ahead

updated 42M ago

Huawei founder says he would defy Chinese law on intel gathering

Chinese company is the largest seller of telecommunications equipment in the world

1H ago

Flight hits 801 mph thanks to record-breaking jet stream

The river of air 35,000 feet above the NYC area, known as the jet stream, clocked in at a blazing 231 mph, blowing away a 1957 record

1H ago

Scientists discover 300,000 new galaxies

200 scientists from 18 countries have revealed hundreds of thousands of previously undetected galaxies

14H ago

Startup halts treatment using young people's blood after warning

Ambrosia Health charged thousands of dollars for infusions of plasma from teens and young adults

15H ago

Is "zombie deer disease" a threat to humans?

The disease erodes the brain so the animal salivates and acts lethargic, in a sort of zombie-like state

14H ago

Nature's Path recalls gluten-free cereal due to undeclared gluten

Food maker recalls some batches of gluten-free product sold around the U.S. because it may contain wheat and barley

19H ago

Scientifically proven ways to lose weight

Experts say it's the quality, not just the quantity, of what you eat that matters

20H ago

Grand Canyon tourists reportedly exposed for years to radiation

A safety manager for the park says the exposure came from uranium rocks stored in buckets

22H ago

Claim these tax deductions — even if you can't itemize

Also known as "above the line deductions," these special provisions can be big money-savers

updated 12M ago

It's Samsung's turn to reveal its newest smartphone lineup

The question looming over its high-profile launch event: Will the new models and features be enough to boost sales?

updated 42M ago

Battle royale in online games: "Apex Legends" smashes "Fortnite"

"Fortnite" is no longer the record holder for game downloads and viewership, with EA's "Apex Legends" charging ahead

updated 42M ago

Huawei founder says he would defy Chinese law on intel gathering

Chinese company is the largest seller of telecommunications equipment in the world

1H ago

Southwest cancels 180 flights in one day amid maintenance issues

Move comes with carrier and mechanics union locked in tense contract talks and each side blaming the other for a large number of planes grounded for maintenance

2H ago

Testimony in Jussie Smollett case scrapped after "Hail Mary" phone call

CBS News source says the last-minute call from "Empire" actor's lawyers apparently is what scuttled grand jury testimony from two brothers

2H ago

Disturbing testimony of "horrific" scene in missing mom case

Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent testified Tuesday that Krystal Jean Lee Kenney described the scene inside Kelsey's Berreth's home as "horrific"

updated 9M ago

Sources: Brothers expected to testify before grand jury in Jussie Smollett case

The two brothers told police Smollett paid them to fake an attack

12H ago

Ex-Philly cop allegedly sexually assaulted witnesses, suspects

Authorities allege Philip Nordo used his position to intimidate and groom male suspects and witnesses into sexual acts

16H ago

Ex-cop who killed teen contests rare challenge to his sentence

Jason Van Dyke's attorneys say such the challenge from prosecutors is only warranted in extraordinary circumstances

21H ago  Original Article