GUEST: Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos, a Philadelphia-based grassroots organization.
BACKGROUND: It has been a week since dozens of mothers at the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania have gone on hunger strike, protesting their incarceration. The undocumented women and their children, who range in age from 2 to 16, have been held at the facility that was slated for closure for many months.
Homeland Security head Jeh Johnson in a recent statement claimed that the average length of immigrant detention at such centers was 20 days. The women wrote him an open letter, challenging his statement saying that many of them had been held for a year already.
The letter read, "we have decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike until we obtain our immediate freedom because all of us left our countries of origin fleeing violence, threats and corruption." The mothers added, "We will get out dead or alive."