#Not1More Deportation

All posts tagged hunger strike

Tacoma, WA - Last Thursday two undocumented leaders of the Northwest Detention Center Resistance met with four members of the House Judiciary Committee. The Congresspeople, all co-sponsors of the Accountability in Immigration Detention Act, were Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Joe Garcia (D-FL). The two leaders from NWDC Resistance were Jose Moreno, who helped organize the March 7 hunger strike inside the Northwest Detention Center and supported from the outside once he was released on bond, and Maru Mora Villalpando, who was a leader of the Feb. 24th action that delayed deportations for a week and led support for the hunger strike. “The fact that we were able to met with key Congressmembers means we undocumented immigrants are not longer being ignored. Our activism is paying off”, said Maru Mora Villalpando in reference to the meeting. Read more

Tacoma, WA - Yesterday Congressman Adam Smith introduced legislation to address many of the demands of the hunger strikers at the Northwest Detention Center. Congressman Smith indicated that his legislation is in direct response to the hunger strike. On March 20th he visited NWDC and spoke with Ramon Mendoza Pascual, Miguel Angel Farias and Jesus Gaspar Navarro. Reaction from Ramon Mendoza Pascual’s family was positive. His wife, Veronica Noriega, said, “I¹m glad that their courage and their effort paid off, I want to thank Rep Adam Smith for his interest in solving the issue of the suffering of so many people.” His 11-year-old daughter, Veronica Mendoza, said, “I’m proud of my dad.” The legislation would, in the Congressman’s words, “change federal law to ensure that detention center standards are federally regulated and created by a rulemaking committee that includes stakeholders like organizations that advocate for undocumented immigrants, local governments, medical experts, and more.” It would also encourage alternatives to detention. The Not1More Washington campaign expressed its appreciation, “Today he delivered on his promise. As part of the campaign to stop deportations and as representatives of those on hunger strike, we thank him for his leadership and courage in creating solutions to these issues.” Read more

Tacoma, WA - The wave of hunger strikes that first began on March 7th at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC), a federal facility owned by the GEO Group and under the authority of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has concluded. In a communication dated May 1st, the newly formed “Collective of NWDC-T Detainees,” informed their supporters that they have completed this stage of their struggle. Full text of statement, with Spanish-language original, is below; pdf of original available upon request. The letter, titled, “Assessment of one phase of struggle” documents the retaliation suffered by the peaceful whistle-blowing hunger strikers during the March 27th wave of the strike. Describing “rigged hearings under false accusations with no respect for due process” and “sentences of 2 to 30 days” of solitary confinement suffered by the hunger strikers, the Collective also affirms their commitment to their initial demands, including a call for an end to deportations and for bold action by President Obama. Read more

Tacoma, WA — May Day, a worker’s holiday that in recent years has focused on immigrant rights also, kicked off at the Northwest Detention Center this year at noon with about 200 people chanting “No estan solos” (you are not alone) as a van-full of new detainees were led in chains into the immigration prison. The rally marked 56 days of hunger strikes by human rights leaders in the center to protest the record number of deportations under the Obama administration and the conditions under which they are held.

Miguel Armenta Olabarria, a detainee living with HIV, hepatitis C, and cancer, called from inside the immigration prison to address the crowd about the inadequate health care he receives. He also related that ICE had informed him that he would be released this past Tuesday and stated that he doesn’t know why that did not happen.

Ramon Mendoza Pascual and J. Cipriano Rios Alegria, who continue fasting after having been released from solitary confinement this past week, addressed the crowd through audio messages. “Rights are not negotiated; rights are demanded,” Mr. Rios reminded the crowd.  Audio and English translation available upon request

Bernarda Pineda of Everett broke down in tears as she told the crowd about her family’s trauma due to immigration practices. With her husband held at the NWDC since just after Christmas following a minor traffic violation, Ms. Pineda reported her car stolen last week. That simple, ordinary act nearly separated her from their four children, when police questioned her immigration status, and handcuffed her in front of the children. Had they detained her, the children would have been forced into foster care. It was only her quick thinking and repeated pleas that secured her release.

The rally ended with a caravan to the Seattle May Day March and Rally

Photos of the rally that you are free to use are at https://www.facebook.com/Not1MoreTacoma/photos_stream


Tacoma, WA — This Thursday, from 12 – 1 p.m., a crowd will rally outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma in support of the peaceful protesters held inside. May 1st will mark 56 days since detainees began a series of hunger strikes in protest of their conditions and of the record levels of deportations under President Obama. Ramon Mendoza Pascual and J. Cipriano Rios Alegria, who continue fasting after having been released from solitary confinement this past week, will address the crowd through audio messages. Audio will be made available to media.

The rally will also highlight the family of Bernarda Pineda of Everett, Washington. Ms. Pineda’s husband has been held at the Northwest Detention Center since December 27 2013 following a minor traffic violation, leaving Ms. Pineda to care for the couple’s four children on her own. A phone call she made last week to local police to report her car stolen nearly led to her own detention when police questioned her immigration status, and handcuffed her in front of her four children. Ms. Pineda will speak at the rally about the devastation immigration enforcement has created in her family’s life.

As supporters continue to rally support, new abuses continue to come to light.Miguel Armenta Olabarria, a detainee living with HIV, Hepatitis C, and cancer, remains detained and continues to receive inadequate medical care. Instead of responding to hunger striker demands, which include improved medical care, ICE has continued their retaliation against hunger strikers. This week, upon completion of their solitary confinement sentences (which were imposed for “participating in a group demonstration”), Paulino Ruiz and Juan Negrete Mendoza expected to be returned to the general population at the NWDC. Instead, the men were taken from the facility and transferred to two different prison facilities in Oregon that contract to hold immigrant detainees. The two have re-established contact with their supporters in Washington State and Oregon. The rally on Thursday will highlight these and other stories of continued struggle.

WHAT:  Rally in support of immigrants detained at NWDC

WHEN: Thursday May 1st 12PM

WHERE: Northwest Detention Center 1623 E J St, Tacoma

WHO:  Immigrant families, supporters and allies


Tacoma, WA  – As a result of the widespread attention to their cause, hunger strikers Ramon Mendoza Pascual and J. Cipriano Rios Alegria were released from solitary confinement on April 24th, and have been returned to the general population of the Northwest Detention Center. This release from solitary comes five days before the end of Mr. Rios’s solitary confinement sentence. In recognition of this victory, Mr. Mendoza and Mr. Rios have ended their strict hunger strike, and are now engaging in a partial fast. They continue to reject meals offered by the facility, but have begun drinking milk and eating small amounts of bread. As of yesterday, Mr. Mendoza had been on hunger strike for 44 of the last 49 days. He and Mr. Rios plan to continue their peaceful protest through May 1st, an international day of action that in recent years has been marked by massive immigrant protests in the U.S. 

The actions of Mr. Mendoza, Mr. Pascual, and the hundreds of others who engaged in a hunger strike that began in the Tacoma facility on March 7th, have resulted in a national and international spotlight being cast on the harms of detention and deportation at a time when the Obama administration is under fire for its immigration enforcement record. Following his meeting with hunger striker in the Tacoma facility, U.S. Representative Adam Smith has initiated efforts to introduce legislation responsive to hunger striker demands. This morning, Rep. Smith held a phone call with community stakeholders, reinforcing his on-going leadership on this issue and updating callers on his efforts.

The issues the whistle-blowing hunger strikers have brought to light since the strike began 50 days ago include the on-going lack of appropriate medical care; among those who engaged in the hunger strike is Miguel Armenta Olabarria, who has spent over one month in a facility unequipped to meet his medical needs, which include living with HIV, Hepatitis C, and cancer. Strikers have also highlighted the abuses of the $1/day work system, forcing ICE to admit that the agency does not keep track of injuries sustained by those working in the facility. As those detained continued to organize inside for their demands to be met, outside supporters are finalizing plans for a 12 p.m., May 1st rally outside the facility that will end in a caravan to the yearly Seattle rally that afternoon.


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What would you do if your Dad never came back home?

Dear Sasha Obama,

My name is Melanny Martinez. I am thirteen years old and I am currently in the seventh grade at a Catholic private school in Texas. I know you go to private school too and you must understand how hard they can be sometimes. I wanted to write you a letter because I believe you could understand what I am going through. This might be a little odd and I don’t know if you will ever get to read this, but I thought it was worth a try.  Read more

Find more information about the White House Hunger Strike Here

What: Press Conference preceding Congressional Briefing
When: 1:10pm Friday, April 18th, 2014
Where: Rayburn 2103, Washington, DC
Who: Catalina Nieto, Detention Watch Network, Ernestina Hernandez who’s husband Manuel was deported from the Joe Corley Detention Center, Marisa Franco, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Maru Mora Villalpando of Latino Advocacy in Seattle, Drm Action Coalition

“My dad is my hero and I’ll do whatever I have to so he can be home again,” explains Melanie Martinez, age 13, when asked why she and her mother came to Washington, DC as part of the on-going presence outside the White House.

Her mother, Ernestina Hernandez, who will speak today, traveled from Houston, TX to the White House after ICE deported her husband, Manuel Martinez, in retaliation for a hunger strike he participated in at the Joe Corley Detention Center where he had been held.

In recent months, such centers have been roiled by efforts (In Tacoma, WA, Eloy, AZ, Conroe, TX) of those inside to expose the mistreatment, subpar conditions, and the cost-cutting by the private companies who run them as part of the campaign to urge the President to stop deportations and expand relief. An additional hunger strike just became public at an El Paso, TX facility. And just yesterday, 19 people were arrested in civil disobedience at the Suffolk detention center in Boston that is currently embroiled in lawsuits stemming from a previous hunger strike by detainees there.

Preceding a 2:00pm Congressional briefing, representatives of the Texas and Washington state hunger strike and those who started an on-going presence at the White House on April 5th will host a press conference with the Detention Watch Network exposing the conditions inside the Detention Centers and urging DHS and ICE to address hunger strikers demands.

After the Press Conference, participants will hold a Congressional staffer briefing on Detention Center policies, conditions, and resistance. More information on the on-going presence outside the White House available at http://bit.ly/whstrike


WH Action to Stop Deportations

WH Action to Stop DeportationsSince April 5th, immigrant families at the center of the immigration debate have created an indefinite presence on the President’s front lawn asking that he meet with them directly, and stop detaining and deporting their family members.

With record-breaking deportations, and a burgeoning immigration detention complex, our immigrant communities are starving for relief, and have brought that starvation, front and center, to the President’s doorsteps. On April 8th, immigrant families from Arizona started a hunger strike at the White House. This week, we have a family from Texas continuing the hunger strike, and soon, others will arrive from Georgia and Louisiana to escalate.

We need all the support we can get. Here are some things that community members and supporters can do to help the hunger-striking families and keep pressure on the White House to stop the deportations:

1. Volunteer shifts: We are asking volunteers to support the hunger strikers by joining them at the White House (at Lafayette Park) in three hour shifts. Volunteers will keep the hunger strikers company, help ensure their needs are met, demonstrate solidarity, deal with passers-by when necessary, and help out with set up and clean up of the site. If you or your organization can take a shift or an entire day(s), that would be incredibly helpful.

Besides your time, we also need space near the White House, food, meal donations, and materials to continue the hunger-strike so please check out the link here and let us know if you can help us with anything.

2. E-action: The hunger strikers have family members who are detained and facing deportation. Sign the petition to ask the White House to meet with the hunger strikers and stop the deportations of their loved ones here.

3. Join in the events at the White House: If you are in the area, join us for a prayer vigil, happy hour, taller de son jarocho Cosita Seria, or congressional briefings. Check out our calendar of events to get involved.

4. Donations: You can contribute by hitting the donation button above or on this online donation page to help support the hunger strikers and cover logistical costs associated with the action.

5. Read and share the Not One More Blue Ribbon Commission report: Last week, a Blue Ribbon Commission of current and formerly undocumented leaders formed as an independent and parallel body to make recommendations for immediate implementation by the President as he instructs DHS to perform its own review of deportation policy.  The report outlines 14 steps available under the legal authority of the President to reduce the harm caused by the status quo and expand affirmative relief to the undocumented.