New York Immigrant Family Unity Project Statement on ICE Severely Restricting Phone Access in Detention Facilities, Prompting Hunger Strikes

(New York, NY) – The Bronx Defenders, Brooklyn Defender Services, and The Legal Aid Society –  New York City’s defender organizations providing free legal representation to detained immigrants through the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) –  issued the following statement in response to the 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:

“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. 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. 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.”