[Pnews] Immigrant Hunger Strike Continues At Two Northwest Prisons Amidst Threats and Retaliation

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu May 4 18:06:09 EDT 2017


Maru Mora Villalpando <maru at latinoadvocacy.org>

May 4, 2017

*Despite Threats and Retaliation, Hunger Strikers Continue Protest ***

/*ICE Ignores Demands for Improved Conditions * /


Tacoma, WA/The Dalles, OR - Immigrants held at ICE facilities in two 
states - the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC), run by GEO Group, and 
NORCOR, a rural public jail - continued their hunger strike today, 
despite growing weakness from lack of food. The exponential growth of 
immigration detention has led ICE to contract the function of detaining 
immigrants out to both private prison companies and to county 
governments, with both treating immigrants as a source of profit. ICE 
has been using NORCOR as 'overflow' detention space for immigrants held 
at NWDC, and is regularly transferring people back and forth from the 
NWDC to NORCOR. People held at NORCOR have limited access to lawyers and 
to the legal documents they need to fight and win their deportation 
cases. They are often transferred back to NWDC only for their hearings, 
then shipped back to NORCOR, where they face terrible conditions. 
Jessica Campbell of the Rural Organizing Project affirmed, “No one 
deserves to endure the conditions at NORCOR – neither the immigrants ICE 
is paying to house there, nor the people of Oregon who end up there as 
part of criminal processes. It's unsafe for everyone.”

The strike began on April 10th, when 750 people at the NWDC began 
refusing meals. The protest spread to NORCOR this past weekend. Maru 
Mora Villalpando of NWDC Resistance confirmed, “It's very clear from our 
contact with people inside the facilities and with family members of 
those detained that the hunger strike continues in both Oregon and 
Washington State.” She continued, “The question for us is, how will ICE 
assure that the abuses that these whistle-blowing hunger strikers have 
brought to light are addressed?”

 From the beginning of the protest, instead of using the strike as an 
opportunity to look into the serious concerns raised by the hunger 
strikers, ICE and GEO have both denied the strike is occurring and 
retaliated against strikers. Hunger strikers have been transferred to 
NORCOR in retaliation for their participation. One person who refused 
transfer to NORCOR was put in solitary confinement. Just this week, 
hunger striking women have been threatened with forced feeding – a 
practice that is recognized under international law to be torture. In an 
attempt to break their spirit, hunger strikers have been told the strike 
has been ineffective and that the public is ignoring it.

Hunger striker demands terrible conditions inside detention center be 
addressed- including the poor quality of the food, the $1 a day pay, and 
the lack of medical care. They also call for more expedited court 
proceedings and the end of transfers between detention facilities. 
Hunger strikers consistently communicate, “We are doing this for our 
families.” Despite their incredibly oppressive conditions, locked away 
and facing deportation in an immigration prison in the middle of an 
industrial zone and in a rural county jail, hunger strikers have acted 
collectively and brought national attention to the terrible conditions 
they face and to the ongoing crisis of deportations, conditions the U.S. 
government must address.


For live updates, visithttps://www.facebook.com/NWDCResistance/.


###

**

NWDC Resistance is a volunteer community group that emerged to fight 
deportations in 2014 at the now-infamous Northwest Detention Center in 
Tacoma, WA as part of the #Not1More campaign, and supported people 
detained who organized hunger strikes asking for a halt to all 
deportations and better treatment and conditions.

**

Rural Organizing Project (ROP) is a statewide network of 60 
locally-based groups in rural and small town Oregon that work to promote 
human dignity: the belief in the equal worth of all people, the need for 
equal access to justice, and the right to self-determination. ROP has 
connected leaders and groups through collective action for inclusive 
democracy and shared organizing for racial, economic, and gender justice 
since 1992.


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