Tacoma, Washington: People’s Tribunal Against Persecution of Immigrants

February 5, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

On Sunday, February 4, there was a People’s Tribunal held at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, Washington. It was aimed at the ongoing persecution of immigrants carried out at this institution, with a related important issue at the forefront being the threatened deportation of local immigration activist Maru Mora-Villalpando.

About 200 to 300 people were there, some coming from as far away as Salem, Oregon, and Bellingham, Washington, including college students and other youths.

Overall, people were receptive to the Refuse Fascism message, and about 90 percent got Refuse Fascism flyers (including some in Spanish), which included a call from Refuse Fascism Seattle for a “Maru and Immigrants Must Stay! Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” protest the next day at the federal building and ICE office in Seattle.

The Refuse Fascism contingent had a handmade banner saying “Maru+Immigrants Must Stay, Trump/Pence Must Go.” A woman from NOW had a sign including the words “no fascism” and “NOW.” There were several signs that had the word fascism on them, such as “#fascism” and “No fascism.” Some other signs and banners were: “End Deportations,” “End Detentions,” “Not one more deportation,” “Hands off Maru.”

A woman said from the stage what immigrants are experiencing now was fascism. Another speaker said people need to do more than hold signs, that taxes we all pay support all of this, and we need some kind of society change. A choir sang John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

A number of speakers in Spanish and English exposed what goes on at the NWDC: people being held in limbo, their futures and that of their families unknown, while being subjected to conditions of abuse and sensory deprivation, which is torture by international standards.

The verdict of the People’s Tribunal was delivered: The NWDC denies healthcare, conducts retaliation against people standing for their human rights (transferring them and putting in solitary), denies proper nutrition, allows no recreation, provides no counsel or knowledge of rights, and conducts forced labor from which it profits. Conclusion: The NWDC and ICE are guilty of human rights abuses. It was also noted that this is occurring on occupied lands of the Puyallup indigenous people. The resulting demand: shut down all detention centers nationwide, provide records of all these abuses, release all detainees now, reparations in the form of dollars and medical care, dismantle ICE and other organizations of this kind, stop persecution and harassment of all immigrants, and return this land that NWDC is built on to the indigenous people.

In January, Maru Mora-Villalpando announced publicly that she got a deportation notice letter in December saying she must appear at a hearing at ICE, and that she would be told the actual date of appearance later. This is taking place in the context of increasing targeting of leaders of immigrant rights movement across the U.S. At the People’s Tribunal rally at NWDC in Tacoma, Maru said the online petition on her behalf now has almost 10,000 signatures. There have also been international support/demonstrations on Maru’s behalf.




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