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Immigrants end hunger strike at Adelanto detention facility

Immigrants end hunger strike at Adelanto detention facility
Immigrants being held at the Adelanto Detention Facility, seen in 2014, have ended a hunger strike, officials said Monday. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

A hunger strike at California's largest immigrant detention center is over, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Monday.

The action began Nov. 4, when 26 asylum seekers being held at Adelanto Detention Facility stopped eating to protest what they described as prolonged imprisonment.

The group -- which included a man fleeing anti-gay laws in Ghana and others escaping religious and political persecution in Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh -- sought release from detention while their asylum cases were pending.

Immigration agency spokeswoman Virginia Kice said the men ended their protest late Friday night and resumed eating regular meals over the weekend.

Victoria Mela, a monitor with the group Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement, which had been working with the hunger strikers at Adelanto, said the men decided to start eating after one of them collapsed Friday. She said they were hoping that immigration officials would reduce the amount of their bonds and expedite processing of their cases. She said the men may relaunch their strike if their demands aren't met.

The hunger strike at Adelanto came on the heels of similar strikes at other ICE facilities in Louisiana and Texas.

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In each case, detainees have complained that they should be set free on their own recognizance or on reasonably priced bonds. Some have languished in detention for years as their cases were decided in immigration courts.

Twitter: @katelinthicum

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