Over 30 women detainees and five solidarity activists are currently on hunger strike in protest of human rights abuses at the Northwest Detention Center, the immigration prison that cages over 1,500 people every day. June 23 marks the 27th day since April that at least one detainee has been on hunger strike at the NWDC. As of June 23, they are supported by a solidarity encampment organized by NWDC Resistance, which houses the five solidarity hunger strikers outside.
Liberation News visited the encampment and interviewed Maru Mora, one of the solidarity hunger strikers and organizer with NWDC Resistance. She explained that ICE officers have gone into the NWDC to threaten the strikers with retaliation. They reportedly made comments like, “We know what you are trying to do,” threatening that if the women continue on hunger strike they will be sent to the doctors for forcible IVs or transferred to the NorCor correctional facility in Oregon. (Click here to see the full interview.)
According to Mora, while solidarity activists are pleased that ICE retaliation threats no longer include force feeding, ICE is still failing to address the lack of medical care, clean clothes or lack of access to nutritious food that caused the hunger strikes in the first place. The women in the detention center have vowed to continue the hunger strike, while people outside will remain on hunger strike through the weekend.
The hunger strikers have a list of demands that they have written up. NWDC Resistance has translated the demands into English:
We are detainees seeking refuge through a hunger strike
Accessible bond, political asylum, and improved conditions in the detention center.
Tacoma, WA: We are a group of women in the Northwest Detention Center located in Pod D1. We announce that today, June 22 2017, we begin a hunger strike.
Our demands are the following:
Guaranteed political asylum: there are cases of people who have been granted asylum by a judge and are still not free.
More recreation time in the rec yard.
More time for religious services.
Don’t throw out the belongings of the detainees.
Documents in our mother tongue.
Purified potable water available 24 hours a day.
Improvements to our nutrition (including fruit on the menu).
Stop transfers of detainees from one facility to the other.
Provide a variety of exercise equipment in the units.
Improvements in the medical realm- trained medics, medical attention and assistance.
Courts on time, without delay or postponement.
Honesty from ICE- concrete and precise answers.
Improvements in lowering commissary prices.
Diet based on rice and beans.
Denial of cases
Denial of bond
Clothing is in poor condition
Transferring detainees from one facility to another, including from one state to another.
Very expensive commissary.
Evasiveness on the part of ICE- they do not respond to our doubts or complaints
When one is given the option of Voluntary Repatriation, they have to wait at least 10 years before they can return to the United States.
A community solidarity rally is planned for Saturday June 24 at 12 noon outside the NWDC, NWDC 1623 E J St, Tacoma WA, to demand: 1) immediate release of the detainees and 2) No ICE retaliation.
Whether or not you can attend the rally, please sign the petition.
Supporters may also choose to fast for one or more days. Please post a photo of yourself with a solidarity message on the NWDC Resistance Facebook page; organizers will let the hunger strikers inside know about your act of solidarity.
For updates, visit NWDC Resistance on Facebook.