An Iraqi national who asked for asylum at a U.S.-Mexico Border crossing is staging a hunger strike in a detention facility located in Texas. He began the strike after receiving a final order of removal issued by an immigration judge.
Safaa Al Shakarchi presented himself and his family at the Hidalgo Border Crossing in January 2017 where they asked for asylum. His wife, Zinah Al Shakarchi, told The Daily Beast, “Someone will kill him” if he has to return to Iraq.
Zinah Al Shakarchi says that the last time her husband was in Iraq, someone left a bullet in an envelope on his car. She also claims that he has been on a hunger strike twice and has been treated poorly at the detention center. The threat appears to be related to her former job at a food import inspection facility where she claims she refused to admit a shipment of tainted sugar. She further claims to have been shot in the arm by militant militia because of her refusal to admit the sugar.
She alleges that her husband was punished and put in solitary confinement, and put in a cold cell to make him eat again. Zinah also charges that officials at the facility threatened to force-feed him and threatened to deny him phone calls with her.
The Daily Beast reported that Al Shakarchi has been in the Laredo Processing Center since January 2017. Federal immigration officials found that Al Shakarchi has not made a solid claim for asylum and an immigration judge issued a final order of removal on August 25.
His wife and children are in Montreal, Canada. They are seeking refugee status there.
Before coming over the Hidalgo Border Crossing and turning themselves in, the Mexican government denied the family asylum after allegedly filing incorrect paperwork. Zinfa also lived in Dallas for a while but said she fled to Canada because she was worried about being deported.
The Daily Beast reported that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials “refused to say whether Safaa has engaged in hunger strikes in the past, instead only saying ‘he’s not currently striking.’” ICE also reportedly failed to comment on Zinah Al Shakarchi’s other accusations.
The Laredo Processing Center is run by the private prison company CoreCivic. The company’s employees handle the day-to-day operations at the Texas detention center. It is formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America. The company announced its rebranding in October 2016.
Breitbart Texas has reported about the hunger strikes staged in the past by ICE detainees.
In September, Iraqi immigrants detained in an immigration facility in Detroit, Michigan, said they would rather die than be deported to their native country. Seven Iraqi detainees engaged in a hunger strike to protest their pending deportation. The detainees were part of a group of nearly 114 Iraqi immigrants apprehended by ICE officers in the Detroit area last summer. A federal judge temporarily blocked the removal of the Iraqi immigrants, and they remained in detention.
The arrested Iraqis had criminal records in the U.S. for homicide, rape, aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, and other crimes. ICE officials placed the hunger strikers under medical supervision. Seven more detainees later joined the hunger strike.
In April, illegal immigrants detained in Tacoma, Washington, at the Northwest Detention Center stopped a hunger strike right before Easter morning, reported Breitbart Texas. The detainees were demanding more money for doing chores, and they were demanding better food and medical care.
DACA illegal immigrants also staged a Thanksgiving holiday hunger strike this past year, reported Breitbart News. One of those DACA strikers, Adriana Delgado, told WNYC: “I’m sitting here looking at my last meal and trying to imagine what my meals would be like if I was sent back to Mexico.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Gab, and Facebook.