#Not1More Deportation

All posts tagged northwest detention center

Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement after speaking with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson about the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) and deportation policy:

“I had a productive conversation with the DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson.  I spoke with him about my recent visit to the NWDC and made sure he was fully aware of all the concerns that were brought to my attention by the detainees I met with, their friends and relatives, and advocates in the community.  Secretary Johnson has visited a detention facility in Texas and plans to visit more in the near future.  I asked that he continue to visit facilities and invited him to come see the NWDC in Tacoma in hopes that these visits will lead to a review of policies at detention centers.

“Additionally, we spoke about the issue of deportation.  I expressed my concerns about the rising number of immigrants being deported and how this has a devastating impact on families in our community.  Secretary Johnson understands these concerns and ensured me that DHS is reviewing all deportation policies, as the President announced this week.  I have a great working relationship with Secretary Johnson from his tenure at the Defense Department, and I look forward to continuing working with him in his new capacity on this issue.”

Tacoma, WA – As the hunger strikers prepare to enter the third week of their protest fast at the Northwest Detention Center, US Rep. Adam Smith, accompanied by aides for Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Susan DelBene and local elected officials, Sens. Jeanne Darneille and Steve Conway and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland visited the facility this afternoon. Rep. Smith and the aide for Rep. DelBene met with the detained men leading the hunger strike, including Ramon Mendoza Pascual and Jesus Gaspar Navarro. The other officials were led on a guided tour of the facility by ICE field office director Natalie Asher, after placing their personal belongings in lockers side-by-side with family members arriving for visitation with their loved ones.  

Last week Rep. Smith expressed his concern with the detention center, focusing on ICE’s unwillingness to answer his inquiries about the bond process, length of detention, and nutrition standards. He said in a statement released on March 14: “I have heard from many constituents that are relatives, friends, and advocates of those detained at the NWDC, who still have many unanswered questions.”

He came away from his visit today with grave concerns about the way the profit motive operates in the detention facility. He called the commissary prices, one of the hunger strikers’ concerns, “exorbitant.” In his remarks upon leaving the facility, he also highlighted his concern that audits on the facility are not available to Congress or the public, as well as the devastation that detention and deportation create for families.

GEO Group, the self described “world’s leading provider” of private prisons, owns and operates the Tacoma facility as well as the Conroe, TX immigration facility where a related hunger strike began this Monday. The demands of the hunger strikers at both locations relate to GEO’s profit-making, and include asks to increase the quality and quantity of the facilities’ food, lower the prices at the commissaries, and increase the $1 per day wages given to detainees, who currently provide the primary source of labor for the functioning of the facilities.

Outside the facility gates Cong. Smith met with the families of Mr. Mendoza and Mr. Gaspar, as well as with Jose Moreno, a hunger strike leader who was recently released. They had gathered there with other supporters who come together each afternoon near the main gates of the facility to register their support for those who are fasting and to talk with families as they arrive to visit with their loved ones inside.



Tacoma, WA – Jose Moreno, newly released hunger strike leader, spoke publicly about conditions inside the Northwest Detention Center and the reasons for the hunger strike. Speaking  at a press conference just outside of cement walls that separated him from his family he said, “It’s really sad to see families being separated every day and people are tired of this”. Mr. Moreno was on one of the vehicles that was turned back in the early morning hours of Feb. 24. He was inspired by the direct action that stopped ICE from deporting 120 people that day to help start the hunger strike. “Many people go from providing for their families to an economic burden due to their incarceration in this detention center. They want the President to deliver on his promise, back when he became President, to reform the system. Because he hasn’t done it, people are taking matters into their own hands.”

The two leaders remaining in isolation recorded messages for those on hunger strike at the Geo-run immigration detention center in Conroe, TX. Ramon Mendoza Pascual  encouraged the Texas human rights strike leaders, “Don’t be afraid, we must keep going, so that we are heard and so that we can be free.” Jesus Gaspar Navarro echoed the encouragement, “May God help you and may God keep you safe, because this is worth doing for our families. Just remember your families and that will give you strength.”

Almost two full weeks into the hunger strike, attorney Sandy Restrepo reported that, in addition to the two men in isolation, there are about 11 still on hunger strike in the Northwest Detention Center. The leadership on the outside has reached out to Congresspeople to support a negotiated settlement to the strike that ICE has answered with threats, intimidation and empty promises.

“It is time to end the suffering here. Our regard for human rights should call us to demand that our friends and neighbors be released from detention while awaiting decisions and that healthful food, fair treatment and fair wages be provided for those held here,” said Ms. Restrepo. “It is time for our officials to step forward.”

Mr. Gaspar Navarro has been separated from his family for a year and half and has never held his two grandchildren, his wife Donna Gaspar said. A construction worker, he has worked on many major projects, including Fort Lewis and schools and firehouses. He was pulled over on his way to work and was the family’s sole provider, supporting a family of seven.

Mr. Mendoza Pascual and his wife of 13 years, Veronica Noriega, have three children. He worked as a carpenter prior to his arrest on suspicion of a DUI, a charge that has been dropped when it was shown he was not driving. Ms. Noriega is now working three jobs to support the family.

Maru Mora Villalpando announced that April 5 immigrant rights activists will join the national call for Obama to  stop deportations, Not1More, rallying outside the detention center, starting at noon. There have been two million people deported during the Obama administration, more than during any prior administration. President Obama could expand the deferred action program he created for immigrant youth and suspend deportations immediately.

The rally will feature talks by the Gaspar, Mendoza and Moreno families and the soon to be released  Blue Ribbon Panel Report by national undocumented leaders with recommendations to the President for changes to US deportation policy. It will be a celebration of all those locked up inside who participated in the hunger strike. There will be puppets, bands, and banners, in the family friendly event. A march will precede the rally and a 24-hour fast companioning those inside will span the event.


Tacoma, WA – Today the hunger strike reaches its 10th day, immigrant detainees Ramon Mendoza Pascual, Miguel Angel Farias Sanchez and Jesus Gomes continue to demand better treatment at the privately run Tacoma Detention Center by GEO Group.  The three have been placed in isolation under medical watch. “He has lost at least 20 pounds, but remains strong in sprit and told me he won’t give up until ICE meets their demands of justice and treatment with dignity” said his wife Veronica Noriega. The three expressed they will continue until the demands are met regardless of threats of force feeding. ACLU WA has been already at the facility to represent the three and stop ICE from acquiring an order to force feed them.

Supporters of the strikers have had daily presence outside the privately run detention center, managed by corporate giant GEO Group. Yesterday supporters talked to at least 10 families that came to visit their loved one imprisoned in the facility, families came from places as far as Yakima, Ellensburg and Mt Vernon and one of the families came all the way from California. They all confirmed not only that their loved ones are still in hunger strike, stopped due to retaliation by ICE and GEO Group and started again after learning of the worldwide outrage that provoked their strike, or are ready to begin the hunger strike again.

“Families shared with us their pain, not only by being separated of their loved ones, but also by seeing them treated as if they had no rights. One mother told me she felt like her son was stolen from her and now GEO and ICE is selling him back to her by placing an outrageous bond amount she cannot afford. We will remain here every day until ICE meets their demands and actions will continue until Obama stop deportations and breaking families apart” said Maru Mora of Latino Advocacy and part of the Not 1More deportation campaign.


Heartened by Rally Outside, Detainees Continue Strike for Better Treatment

Now on the fifth day of hunger strike, detainees continue to demand better treatment at the Tacoma Detention Center run for profit by the GEO Group.  Inspired by a civil disobedience that turned back deportation buses in weeks past, detainees initiated their own organizing to improve food and fairness in the facility they accuse of cutting corners and violating rights to make more money off their imprisonment.

GEO Group and ICE immediately retaliated against strikers, placing at least 20 in “the hole” and threatening to force feed others in an attempt to silence the unprecedented activity that caught global attention.  Film makers have arrived from Canada and reports of the strike have been made throughout Europe, embarrassing the Federal Government at a time when it is attempting to portray itself as a defender of human rights that insists upon other countries.

Yesterday 200 people, including family members of the strikers, rallied outside the facility and chanted within earshot of the detainees in solidarity with their effort; urging the corporation and ICE to negotiate to meet their simple demands.

Maru Mora of Latino Advocacy explained, “The federal government is turning our families over to a corporation that’s driving their treatment down in order to drive their profits up.  But human dignity is not a line item on a balance sheet.  We will stand with the detainees and ensure their request for fair treatment is met. To have the world see how badly immigrants are being treated here reflects very badly on a President who sees himself as the champion-in-chief.”






As the hunger strike initiated last Friday by immigrants detained in the Northwest Detention Center enters its fourth day, attorney Sandy Restrepo reports strikers being threatened with forced feedings. Restrepo met with hunger strike leaders this morning, and described the conditions inside the center: “The guards are armed and dressed fully in black – essentially in riot gear. Immigrants on hunger strike are being pulled out for individual questioning by detention center officials, and threatened with forced feeding if they continue their protest. Asylum seekers are being threatened with denial of their cases.”

Even as they face increasing retaliation, hunger strikers remain determined. Through written communication, they have elaborated on their demands. Continuing to insist on an end to deportations, they also ask for release on bond, noting, “Without a bond we spend months, even 1 to 2 years locked up without knowing what’s going to happen to us and our families and without being able to economically support our families, causing them to fall deeper into poverty.”

Outside supporters have obtained a photograph of the latest communiqué, which ends with the statement, “We are doing this for our families.”

Supporters have announced a rally at the facility, to take place tomorrow at 5 p.m. Wives of some of the organizers of the hunger strike will be sharing their stories and will be available for interviews. New audio communications from hunger strikers will be broadcast and made available at the rally.






 A medida que la huelga de hambre que fue iniciada por los migrantes detenidos en el Centro de Detención Northwest llega a su cuarto día, la abogada Sandy Restrepo reporta que los huelguistas están recibiendo amenazas de alimentación forzada.  Restrepo se reunió con los líderes de la huelga esta mañana, y describió las condiciones que se viven en el centro: “Los guardias están armados y visten totalmente de negro, y llevan equipo antidisturbios.  Los migrantes que participan en la huelga de hambre están siendo interrogados individualmente por los oficiales del centro de detención, y se les está amenazando con ser alimentados de manera forzada si continúan con su protesta.  A las personas que buscan asilo se les está amenazando diciéndoles que sus casos serán rechazados.”

Aún con el aumento de las represalias, los huelguistas siguen decididos.  A través de un comunicado escrito, han explicado a detalle sus demandas.  Siguen insistiendo en el cese de las deportaciones, y también piden ser liberados bajo fianza, señalando que “Sin la opción de una fianza, pasamos meses, incluso hasta uno o dos años, encerrados y sin saber lo que nos va a suceder a nosotros y a nuestras familias, y sin poder apoyar económicamente a nuestras familias, lo cual hace que se hundan aún más en la pobreza.”

Los simpatizantes externos obtuvieron una fotografía del comunicado más reciente, el cual termina declarando que “Estamos haciendo esto por nuestras familias.”

Los simpatizantes anunciaron que habrá un mitin en las instalaciones, el cual se llevará a cabo mañana a las 5 p.m.  Las esposas de algunos de los organizadores de la huelga de hambre compartirán sus historias y estarán disponibles para dar entrevistas.  El audio de las comunicaciones más recientes sostenidas con los huelguistas se transmitirá durante el mitin y estará disponible.




Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA

On Friday, March 7th, 1200 people held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, one of the largest immigration prisons in the country, began a hunger strike and work stoppage.


ICE immediately retaliated against the strikers, placing many in solitary confinement and threatening others with force feeding. A core group continued for more than two weeks and the strike restarted on a mass scale to continue pushing demands.  Their effort to win fair treatment and see the President stop deportations has garnered national and international support as they blow the whistle on conditions in the center run for-profit by the GEO Group.

 Sign the petition to support the Tacoma hunger strikers


Joe Crowley Detention Center in Conroe, TX

Two weeks later, Detainees in the Joe Crowley Detention Center in Conroe, TX were inspired to start their own hunger strike. 500 people initially went on hunger strike to protest conditions at the privately-run detention center in which they are housed and to demand an end to deportations and family separation.


The hunger strikers have faced significant retaliation.  ICE has pressured 20 of the strikers to sign voluntary departure orders, and 15 have already been deported as a direct result of participating in the hunger strike. Hunger strikers are being put in isolation and denied visits from their families as a result of participating, and at least 2 are currently vomiting blood and facing life-threatening kidney problems as a result of not eating.

Sign the petition to support the Texas hunger strikers



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“It Seems This Place is Like Guantanamo” – Detainees Protest Forced Feeding Order

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Candidate Attention Doesn’t Stop ICE from Deporting Asylum Seeker to Possible Death

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BREAKING: Clinton Protested by Hunger Strike Supporters Asking “Do You Stand With Us?”

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In Face of ICE Torture Tactics, Three Centers Continue #Freedomgiving Hunger Strike

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Sanders Pressed to Visit Detention, Call to Free Hunger Strikers

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For previous alerts and advisories related to hunger strikes in Tacoma and Texas, click here

Tacoma, WA – As a wide spectrum of migrant rights activists gathered outside the fence of the Northwest Detention Center yesterday and today, the relative of one of the hunger strikers inside reports retaliation against more than 20 of the hunger strike organizers. Maribel Rodriguez reports that the leaders of the strike have been confined in one cell without hygiene or the ability to move around and denied visitors and medical care, limited phone access. She said, “I do not think it is just or fair that they are treated like animals. They are human beings.”

The group outside the facility are there to support those confined and on strike in their demands for an end to weekly deportations and fair treatment, including healthful food, a raise in pay from $1 per day worked and fair commissary prices. In a recorded conversation, one of the strike leaders stated, “We are doing this for our families and for our children. We don’t want to be separated from them.”

Those rallying for the hunger strikers are particularly concerned about retaliation said migrant rights activist Maru Mora Villalpando.  summarized the growing support. “We are gravely concerned about retaliation, particularly against the hunger strike leaders. We invite everyone to join us. The more attention the strike receives the more limited the retaliation will be.”

A lawyer who first learned of strike when visiting clients at the facility, says that the fast was  inspired when the detained immigrants saw the action outside the gates of the facility that stopped the regularly-scheduled weekly deportation run on February 24. They began the fast on Fridaybecause that is the day that the guards segregate those who will be deported on Monday morning.


9 de Marzo, 2014

Familiar de Huelguista de Hambre

Reporta Represalias

Vigilias y Manifestaciones Continuaran Hasta el martes

Tacoma, WA – Mientras un amplio espectro de activistas para los derechos de los migrantes se manifestaron fuera de las rejas del Northwest Detention Center (Centro de Detención del Noroeste) ayer y hoy, en apoyo a las 1200 personas detenidas que están en ayuno en el centro de detención de Tacoma para protestar por el trato y por la deportaciones semanales. En una entrevista, uno de los lideres de estas huelgas comunico: “Estamos hacienda esto para nuestras familias y para nuestros hijos, para no dejarlos solos.”

La activista para los derechos de los migrantes Maru Mora Villalpando resumió el creciente apoyo con estas palabras: “Estamos preocupados por su bienestar y apoyamos su valentía para luchar contra el trato inhumano que reciben. Nos preocupa las represalias que puedan tener, particularmente en contra de los lideres de la huelga de hambre. Invitamos a todos a que se unan a nuestra causa. Entre mas atención reciba esta huelga, menores serán las represalias.”

Un abogado que se enteró de esta huelga cuando visitaba a sus clientes en el centro de detención comentó que la huelga de hambre fue inspirada cuando los inmigrantes detenidos se percataron de la acción del 24 de Febrero que se llevo a cabo fuera de las rejas del centro a fin de parar las deportaciónes semanales. Empezaron su huelga el viernes porque ese es el día que los guardias separan a las personas van a ser deportados la mañana del siguiente lunes.

Una foto de las demandas escritas a mano dice:

“Por favor comuníquense con los medios.

Hay 1200 personas que no están comiendo.

-Mejor comida

-Mejor trato

-Mejor pago

-Precios mas bajos


Ayer la estación de radio KDNA recibió una llamada al aire de una persona que se identifico como un pariente de uno de los organizadores de la huelga de hambre.


Tacoma, WA – Conforme un gran grupo de activistas de derechos de migrantes se reunieron el día de ayer y hoy afuera del Centro de Detención Northwest, el familiar de uno de los huelguistas de hambre reportó que ha habido represalias en contra de más de 20 organizadores de la huelga de hambre.  Maribel Rodríguez reportó que los líderes de la huelga fueron confinados a una celda sin servicios sanitarios y sin poder moverse, y han sido negados visitas, cuidados médicos y uso de telefono.  Comentó que “no me parece justo que los estén tratando como animales.  Ellos son seres humanos”.

El grupo que se encuentra afuera de las instalaciones se presentó para apoyar a aquellos que se encuentran confinados o en huelga, exigiendo que cesen las deportaciones semanales y que haya un trato justo, incluyendo comida saludable, un aumento en el pago de $1 por cada día trabajado, y precios justo en la comisaria.  En una conversación grabada, uno de los líderes de la huelga comentó que “Estamos haciendo esto por nuestras familias y por nuestros hijos, para no dejarlos solos.”

Aquellos que apoyan a los huelguistas están sumamente preocupados por las medidas de represalia, comentó Maru Mora Villalpando, una activista por los derechos de los migrantes.  “Estamos muy preocupados por las represalias, sobre todo en contra de los líderes de la huelga de hambre.  Invitamos a todos a que se unan a nuestra causa. Entre mas atención reciba esta huelga, menores serán las represalias.”

Un abogado que se enteró de esta huelga cuando visitaba a sus clientes en el centro de detención comentó que la huelga de hambre fue inspirada cuando los inmigrantes detenidos se percataron de la acción del 24 de Febrero que se llevo a cabo fuera de las rejas del centro a fin de parar las deportaciónes semanales. Comenzaron la huelga el viernes porque es el día en el que los guardias separan a los migrantes que serán deportados el siguiente lunes.



Tacoma, WA – A wide spectrum of migrant rights activists are rallying at the Northwest Detention Center today through Tuesday, March 11th, in support of the 1200 people detained at the Tacoma facility fasting to protest their treatment and for an end to the weekly deportations. In an interview, one of the strike leaders stated, “We are doing this for our families and for our children. We don’t want to be separated from them.”

Immigrant rights activist Maru Mora Villalpando summarized the growing support. “We are concerned for their welfare and we support their brave stand against inhumane treatment. We are gravely concerned about retaliation, particularly against the hunger strike leaders. We invite everyone to join us. The more attention the strike receives the more limited the retaliation will be.”

A lawyer who first learned of strike when visiting clients at the facility, says that the fast was  inspired when the detained immigrants saw the action outside the gates of the facility that stopped the regularly-scheduled weekly deportation run on February 24. They began the fast on Friday because that is the day that the guards segregate those who will be deported on Monday morning.

A photo of the strikers’ handwritten demands reads:

“Please contact the news.

There’s 1200 people not eating.

-Better food

-Better treatment

-Better pay

-Lower commissary


Yesterday radio station KDNA received a call on air from someone identifying themselves as a relative of one of the organizers of the hunger strike.