Last summer, forty Sikh men from Punjab were brought to an El Paso-based Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility, a facility that Colorlines reports predominantly houses immigrants from India or Central America seeking political asylum in the United States. All forty of the Punjabi men — most aged 22 to 27 years old — were politically active in a Sikh minority party in Punjab, and all forty were targeted by opponents with violent retribution for their political activities.
Says Buta Singh, one of the detainees: “They will kill us if we go back, sir. That’s why we came here — to protect our lives.”
So, the forty men fled to America, and were brought to the El Paso facility immediately upon their arrival, hoping to receive political asylum in America.
Instead, these forty men have spent the last 11 months imprisoned in an ICE detention facility, while their cases languish in administrative limbo. And now, faced with a seeming indefinite detention, they have been forced by government inaction to launch a hunger strike in a final desperate plea to draw attention to their case.