Immigrant Prisoners and Supporters at Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma on Hunger Strike to Demand End to Inhumane Conditions

February 14, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers in the Northwest:

Immigrants inside ICE’s Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, Washington, are on hunger strike—and people outside are also staging hunger strikes in support! This action is to stand against the ongoing extreme conditions of isolation, uncertainty, and injustice there against the immigrant prisoners. Those inside report they have been beaten and abused in attempts by authorities to stop the strike.

The NWDC is a battleground in the Trump/Pence fascist regime’s advance toward ethnic cleansing. It is privately owned and run for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). And it is part of a national network of immigrant detention centers which Trump plans to double in size. 

On February 4, a People's Tribunal was held by NWDC Resistance outside the NWDC’s walls and barbed wire fences, exposing the ongoing inhumane conditions inside and demanding they be ended. A Refuse Fascism contingent was part of the 200 to 300 people at this tribunal.

On February 7, NWDC Resistance issued a press release saying at least 120 detained migrants had begun on a hunger strike, coming on the heels of a work stoppage by detainees working in the kitchen. The strikers are demanding an end to these conditions: food is not edible; food in solitary confinement is not enough; the use of solitary confinement, especially as retaliation, is widespread; guards constantly search beds and cells without reason; and unfair hearings and increasingly high bonds ($35,000) cause indefinite detention, as do long delays in carrying out any deportation orders.

On February 10, NWDC Resistance shared reports that at least two people had been assaulted and injured by guards for refusing to eat, and on February 11 people came and protested outside. Activist Maru Mora-Villalpando, who in an effort to silence her was recently placed under threat of deportation by ICE, spoke. She said that solitary confinement is full. One of the two men beaten for hunger striking has an eye injury, is in solitary, and has been refused medical attention. Another person who had a stroke and was refused proper medical care now has further visible injuries as a result (bruised around the arms, neck, and head).

Based on what is known at this time, there are 150 still on strike. NWDC Resistance reports that they are hearing from others inside saying they are joining, while some are ending the strike because of retaliation and abuse. Immigrants at NORCOR jail, used by ICE to detain people in Oregon, are reportedly also planning on striking, in solidarity.

Maru Mora-Villalpando said, “When you talk about hunger strikers, remember the people inside are activists, and are being retaliated against because of that. We are going to continue to go against those that put their hands on these people until they are brought to justice.”

On February 12, NWDC Resistance called on supporters outside to: “Join us for a week of hunger strike solidarity by observing a one day hunger strike anytime today, Monday, February 12 to Sunday February 18. For one week we will do a rolling hunger strike in solidarity with the hunger strike and work stoppage currently happening in the Northwest Detention Center...”

We will keep you updated on this situation.




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