Community members lock down for what has become a global human rights issue
TACOMA (September 21, 2015) – Northwest Detention Center Resistance Coalition members locked down to protest deportations at the private facility.
Protesting the criminalization and scapegoating of immigrants, the protest highlights the moral injustice of privately-run for-profit detentions centers and their collaboration with local police departments creating a road to detention, and call for an end to all immigrant deportations and detentions.
“Ending immigrant deportations is absolutely an environmental issue,” said Got Green executive director Jill Mangaliman. Speaking from one of the road blockades. Jill added “I’m willing to be out here today because climate change is resulting in worsening drought and super-storm conditions which displace millions across the globe. These climate refugees will number 200 million by 2050. World leaders and communities across the U.S. need to end these unjust deportations and commit to policies that stop climate change.”
Jill is one of more than 20 people who had chained themselves together in metal and plastic containers that covered their arms. These “lockboxes” make it difficult for law enforcement authorities to separate and arrest the protestors. Together, these locked teams blocked the three roadways leading from the detention center.
Protesters also came to the action to offer moral support to the human blockade. Members of the Trans and/or Women’s Action Camp carried a sign protesting ICE’s controversial practice of placing transgender detainees in solitary confinement. While transgender women only make up 1 out of 500 detained immigrants in this country, they make up an alarming 1 out of every 5 confirmed sexual assaults in immigration detention.
Undocumented immigrant and parent Maru Mora-Villalpando was also a part of the human chain, along with her U.S.-born daughter Josefina Mora. She, like many of her fellow protestors, sees the day’s goal as not only to prevent that day’s immigrant deportations, but also to call attention to the local “lockup” quota – a contractual provision that obligates Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to pay for a minimum of 800 immigration detention beds daily to the GEO Group, the private prison corporation that runs the facility. The quota, referred to in contracts as “guaranteed minimums,” requires payment to private contractors whether beds are filled or not, and ICE faces considerable pressure to keep the beds at the detention center full.
“The government could close these detention centers today and end the practice of corporations profiting from imprisoning human beings, ensure all its residents have access to quality food and healthy homes, and change its international policies to create fair trade for people and the planet, People should not be forced to migrate, and those already here should be allowed to remain with their families and communities,” said Maru from the locked line.
Participants of the protest include Rising Tide Seattle, the Raging Grannies, and other groups fighting for climate justice, economic justice, reproductive justice, worker rights and more.
“The nations that caused this crisis have a basic obligation to welcome migrants with open arms. We must create a world where safety and justice are more important than arbitrary borders. If we can’t find a way to welcome and support migration in a rapidly warming world, dystopia awaits us. In the climate-disrupted world we will inherit a militarized border and abusive gulag system can only grow into an even more violent police state.”