Legal Aid Society


Attorneys: Restricted Phone Access Prompts Hunger Strikes in ICE Detention

The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) is reporting a sudden termination of the free call minutes program at ICE detention facilities where immigrant New Yorkers are jailed, severely restricting phone access and prompting hunger strikes:

The Legal Aid Society, Bronx Defenders, and Brooklyn Defender Services—New York City’s defender organizations that provide free legal representation to detained immigrants through the program—decried the egregious action.

“From the denial of adequate medical treatment to abuse at the hands of jail staff, inhumane conditions at ICE detention facilities are well-documented and the subject of endless investigations and litigation. Now, detained New Yorkers have reported that ICE has suddenly restricted phone access to their families and communities, prompting hunger strikes in multiple facilities,” reads a statement from the organizations.

“ICE responded to those hunger striking with abhorrent retaliation and solitary confinement. These hunger strikes underscore just how vital the ability to communicate and retain connection to community on the outside is for people in ICE detention, especially when they are being detained hundreds or thousands of miles away from their loved ones,” the statement continues. “We condemn ICE’s violent retaliation and urge ICE to restore phone access immediately. Above all, ICE detention is a fundamental threat to people’s rights, health, and safety, and we renew our call to release all immigrants in ICE detention.”