Over 100 Detainees at Mesa Verde ICE Facility Stage Hunger Strike Over COVID-19

Over 100 Detainees at Mesa Verde ICE Facility Stage Hunger Strike Over COVID-19

Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility, Bakersfield, California
April 9, 2020

More than 100 detainees engaged in a hunger strike, demanding ICE officials do more to protect them from the spread of COVID-19. The strike was initiated by the women detainees and it eventually spread to one of the male wings of the facility. They demanded staff wear masks, and more access to hygiene supplies–currently in short supply at the facility. Also, a moratorium on letting new people into the facility.

Things escalated when detainees refused to return to their dorms after their recreational period ended. Eventually, after negotiating with the Warden, the detainees went back to their dorms.

Supporters on the outside surrounded the facility with their cars, honking and making noise. At one point, detainees formed a heart shape together with their bodies.

Charles Joseph, hunger striker said, “They’re literally turning our detention into a death sentence.  It’s not a matter of if COVID-19 comes here, it’s just when.”



100 immigrant detainees hold hunger strike at Mesa Verde in response to COVID-19 measures“, Bakersfield.com, April 11, 2020.

ICE calls claim of hunger strike at Mesa Verde false,” Bakersfield.com, April 11, 2020.

Community Responds to ICE’s Lies on Mesa Verde Hunger Strike, Demands Freedom for Detainees“, Pangea Legal, April 12, 2020.

Attorney says immigrant detainees are on a hunger strike. ICE says that’s a lie“, The Fresno Bee, April 11, 2020.


Article Published: 4/17/2020

Header Image Source: Bakersfield.com