Immigrant Prisoners at ICE Detention Center Stage Hunger Strike Against Police Murder of Black People



On June 4, immigrants imprisoned at the Mesa Verde ICE detention center in Bakersfield, California began a hunger strike in solidarity with the people rising up across the country against the murders and oppression of Black people, and against the deadly treatment of ICE prisoners. According to Centro Legal de la Raza, the prisoners issued a statement announcing the strike, which said in part: “We begin our protest in memory of our comrades George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, and Tony McDade.1 Almost all of us have also suffered through our country's corrupt and racist criminal justice system before being pushed into the hands of ICE.” 

According to an article at,2 one of the strikers, Asif Qazi—who is originally from Bangladesh but has spent most of his life in a largely-Black area of East Berkeley—said that almost everyone in the 70-person dormitories was part of the hunger strike. 

The Mesa Verde strikers made a powerful video, which they shared with the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, in which they speak about their action. They hold handmade signs and wear masks with slogans like “BLM,” “Change the System,” “We Are Human,” and “Stop Racism.” One of the ICE prisoners says on the video, “We stand united in our protest and fight for change. We want to end racism and racist police. We want the police to stop murdering Black people. We want the police to stop arresting and accusing people of color. We want the police to stop caging and deporting immigrants. We want the Black and Brown people to be free....”


1. George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020; Breonna Taylor was murdered by Louisville police on March 13, 2020; Oscar Grant was murdered by BART police in Oakland, California, in 2009; Tony McDade, a Black transgender man, was killed by Tallahassee police on May 27, 2020.  [back]

2. “Immigrants Stage a Hunger Strike for Black Lives Inside ICE Detention Facility,” Jack Herrera, 6/12/20,  [back]



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