Immigration activists declare hunger strike; ICE denies claim

Outside the Eloy, Arizona detention center on Saturday, family members tried to communicate with loved ones, and they began what supporters claimed is a hunger strike, something ICE officials deny.

"There were kids crying watching their dads out in the sun for hours, and it was extremely devastating," sand Sandra Cornejo.

Cornejo is the senior class President at McClintock High School in Tempe. Her father has been in the Eloy detention center for the past month and a half. 

She shot video and claims her father suffered in the desert heat for five hours.

"It was heartbreaking, he is not a criminal, he is my dad. He has always been there for my family, and he doesn't deserve being treated this way," said Cornejo.

Family members and the immigrant activist group Puente Arizona, say the detainees in Eloy are protesting conditions and treatment inside the detention center.

"If they are neglecting my dad, how are they not neglecting someone else," said Seidy Gardea.

"Seeing how they treat us in an inhuman way is just sad to me, I feel betrayed," said Joel Cornejo.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials tell a different story. Nobody was forced to stay outside in the heat this weekend; the people left in a voluntary protest.

ICE claims Puente declared a hunger strike, not the detainees. The agency released the following statement: "It (ICE) is committed to ensuring the welfare of those in custody. ICE managers and detention center staff communicate with detainees regularly and respects the right of people to express their opinions. ICE detainees are under continuous observation by center staff and medical personnel. At this time, no detainees have declared a hunger strike-related to this protest."
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