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Men seeking adjustment of status are exercising right to protest

In Florida and elsewhere in the United States, there have been multiple stories in the recent past that told of inhumane conditions in various immigration detention centers throughout the country. Several men who are currently detained in another state are seeking an adjustment of status. They have also launched a hunger strike to protest the conditions and alleged substandard care they have experienced since being placed in detention.

Their captors took steps to force-feed the men through nasal tubes against their will. A judge recently ruled that the forced feedings of two of the detainees must stop. However, the judge also added a stipulation, stating that the men's health is a concern, and if it begins to decline, he will consider allowing the force-feeding to resume.

An attorney speaking on behalf of two of the men who are from India and are seeking asylum said the judge's recent ruling is a victory for his clients because their right to protest is protected under the First Amendment. It is not the first time immigrants have staged hunger strikes in detention facilities in the United States. It appears to be the first time, however, that force-feeding was implemented in response to a protest like this.

A staff physician testified in court that force-feeding is meant to counteract the tremendous damage not eating for extended periods of time can do to the human body. The judge said the adjustment of status/protest situation is quite complicated because a person has a right to free speech and to peacefully protest government actions. However, one must also consider what is involved in intentionally allowing a person to starve to death. Whether in Florida, Texas (where this particular case is unfolding) or any other state, a detained person in need of legal support may request a meeting with an experienced immigration law attorney at any time.

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