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

Mary Lynn Pannen, founder and CEO of Sound Options, has consulted thousands of Washington families on geriatric care for 30 years. Photo courtesy of Sound Options
Seattle Takes on Elder Abuse as Reported Cases Rise

Local agencies and geriatric care managers aim to increase public awareness about the epidemic.

The Ride2 transit app will offer on-demand rides to and from West Seattle starting on Dec. 17. Courtesy of King County Metro
Climate Action Coalition Urges City to Respond to Seattle Squeeze

MASS asks the city to prioritize reducing traffic and increasing pedestrian safety ahead of the Alaskan Way Viaduct’s closure.

State Supreme Court Strikes Down I-27; King County Will Pursue Safe Consumption Sites

The decision upholds a court ruling keeping the anti-consumption site initiative off the ballot.

Seattle’s Hockey Team And Stadium Are On Their Way

Key Arena renovations will be completed without the use of public funding

Seattle Municipal Court’s warrant outreach event on Nov. 30, 2017. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Seattle Takes Steps to Quash Warrants

City Attorney attempts to address inequities in criminal justice system and enhance public safety.

Andrea Bernard, Allycea Weil, and Phoenix Johnson (left to right) are Licton Springs K-8 parents who want their kids to stay in the Native-centered program. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Licton Springs K-8 Parents Dismayed by Potential School Move

The PTO says children have benefited from the Native-centered program, and that transferring the pupils would disrupt their progress.

The King County Courthouse. File photo
King County Council Acknowledges Report on Juvenile Solitary Confinement

Report also says youth of color face a disproportionate amount of disciplinary measures

Federal Way Megachurch Slapped With Another Sexual Exploitation Lawsuit

Lawsuit calls for removal of Casey and Wendy Treat, and CFO, from church leadership roles.

The Centralia Power Plant is a coal-burning plant owned by TransAlta which supplies 380 megawatts to Puget Sound Energy. It is located in Lewis County and slated to shut down by 2025. Aaron Kunkler/Staff Photo
National Report Outlines Climate Change’s Course For Northwest

More fires, floods and drought appear to be on their way for Washington state.

Most Read