There Are Now 750 People on Hunger Strike at the Northwest Detention Center

A rally today will determine whether the strike should continue.

The hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma has grown to 750 people, NWDC Resistance said in a press release yesterday evening.

The group added that in “at least four pods, the people detained also called for a work stoppage, throwing the immigration prison’s functions into chaos.”

As Sara Bernard reported on Monday, the strike began at noon on Monday with 275 people participating. The ranks have quickly swelled.

NWDC says there will be a rally at noon today to determine “whether the hunger strike will continue.”

Here’s some background on the strike, as reported by Bernard:

The detainees’ demands, circulated on a handwritten letter Monday, echo those made during the NWDC hunger strikes in 2014, which lasted nearly two months at a time and drew national attention. They include: Expedited immigration hearings, improvements to what’s been called “inedible” food, more reasonable commissary prices (which were already high, but recently doubled, strikers say), improved access to medical care, and an increase in the $1-per-day wage for detainee labor (which is not always paid, either, they say; sometimes they’re given a bag of chips instead).

The plan is to refuse food for at least three days because Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “won’t recognize it as a hunger strike until they last 72 hours,” says Maru Mora Villalpando, one of the lead organizers of NWDC Resistance, a grassroots advocacy group that grew out of the 2014 hunger strikes.

As the group’s stated mission is to support the needs of those detained, volunteers rallied outside the facility Monday and plan to camp there until Wednesday. “We’re staying here the three days,” Villalpando adds, “not only because we want to know any directions from the people detained — what they want us to do — but we also want to witness if there’s any type of movement of GEO or ICE to retaliate.” (GEO Group, one of the largest private-prison companies in the nation, operates the NWDC.)

More in News & Comment

Seattle and King County Officials Want a Safe Injection Van

The mobile project—an alternative to permanent sites—still doesn’t have a defined timeline.

Western Washington Could See More Wildfires This Year

Lots of grass and warmer weather could make for worsening fire seasons.

An autopsy found that Tommy Le was shot twice in the back during an fatal encounter with a King County sheriff’s deputy. Photo courtesy Career Link
New Report Calls for Increased Transparency From King County Sheriff’s Office

The fatal shooting of Tommy Le served as a case study for researchers.

Charles Pillon sits inside one of the several buses on Iron Mountain. Photo by Caean Couto
The Last Days of Iron Mountain?

After battling King County government for decades, Charles Pillon may have finally lost the fight over his illegal 10-acre junkyard.

The public files into the City Council Chambers to voice their opinions prior to the vote to repeal the head tax. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Head Tax Repealed By Seattle City Council

After pressure from big businesses, city leaders cave on their plan to fund homeless services.

A scene from the 2017 Women’s March Seattle. Photo by Richard Ha/Flickr
County Sexual Harassment Policies Could Be Overhauled

One King County councilmember says male-dominated departments have “workplace culture issues.”

The Firs Homeowners Association celebrate outside of the Maleng Regional Justice Center after a ruling that buys them more time in their homes on June 7, 2018. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
SeaTac Mobile Home Owners Granted Stay From Eviction

The ruling allows about 200 residents more time in their homes, as they attempt to acquire the property.

Most Read