#Not1More Deportation

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Remarks given by President of the Durham Association of Educators, Bryan Proffitt, during a press conference calling for the release of Wildin Acosta, a young immigrant facing deportation. For more information on how to support contact Alerta Migratoria NC.


WildinAcostaMy name is Bryan Proffitt, and I’m an 11-year veteran high school history teacher, currently serving as the President of the Durham Association of Educators, a local affiliate of the National Education Association. As the classroom teacher on this phone call, it is impossible for me to relate to this issue abstractly. When I heard about ICE’s kidnapping of Wildin Acosta, I thought about Heidi, who stayed after school to teach me Spanish. I thought about Helen who came into my classroom, quiet and timid with almost no working English vocabulary, and consistently completed every task I gave her in two languages. I thought about Ana, one of the most gifted students I ever taught, whose undocumented status prevented her from access to the state’s public university system. I thought about the inevitable terror that 11 years worth of my students would be experiencing when they heard the news, and it broke my heart and compelled me to see how our union could respond at local, statewide, and national levels.

Public schools have real enemies. They are privatizers and corporate reformers. They are not immigrant students. We are fighting for the very existence of public schools in this country. Every day, heroic educators practice our craft in overcrowded and under resourced classrooms full of students that we love. Every day, we work long hours to support our students’ dreams and futures despite the constant efforts of privatizers to shame our schools and blame educators for the problems this country faces. And every day, we sacrifice our extra hours and our own resources to ensure that our students have what they need to have happy, stable, and healthy futures. Immigrant students are not the cause of our problems. Heidi, Helen, and Ana are not threats to our schools. Neither is Wildin. Like all of our students, they bring us joy and challenge and infinite reward. We refuse to stand by and allow them to be painted as the enemies of our communities and our schools. They are our kids, and we love them and feel responsible for them.

We also feel responsible for ensuring that our students leave our schools learning the right lessons. These raids teach our kids the wrong things. Young people are naturally open-hearted, accepting, and curious. Those traits bring us joy and hope every single day. My favorite part of my new job is spending time in elementary schools where I watch young people work together and build friendships across social barriers of race and nationality and class in ways that very few adults practice in this country. Educators work to nurture and facilitate the growth of these characteristics, because they represent the best possibilities for humanity and the future of our communities. When immigrant students, or Black students, or gay students, or students with disabilities face public policies and practices and messages that label them and their families as problems or threats, they struggle to maintain a positive self-esteem and their mental and physical health suffers. They struggle to reach their fullest potential. I’ve watched it happen again and again, and I have to ask the question—what lessons are they learning about themselves? When other students hear that their classmates represent an “internal threat to the security of the United States,” they become fearful and close themselves off, creating tension in our classrooms. What lessons are they learning about each other? We are speaking out against the labelling of immigrant students as dangers in our communities because it damages the self-esteem of some of our students and teaches others that it is okay to mistrust and mistreat one another. We teach our students to love themselves and support one another in our classrooms, and we reject policies and practices that undermine our role as educators.

And finally, we are speaking out against the kidnapping and detention of our students because it prevents us from doing our jobs. We cannot teach kids who are sitting in jail cells. We cannot teach kids who are traumatized by the disappearance of their friends on the way to school. And we cannot teach kids who live in constant fear that their families will be split up and put in harm’s way. ICE’s detention of Wildin’s has sent a chill through our classrooms. Students aren’t showing up for class. Students can’t focus through the trauma and fear that they are experiencing. And families are hesitating to even register their kids for school because they fear that the school system might share their information with La Migra. This has to end.

For 11 years, I was expected to call home any time a student of mine missed a significant amount of class. It was my job to let my students know that I cared, find out what the barriers to their success were, and help them and their families navigate them. Wildin Acosta and the other detained students have missed too much class, and we, as their teachers, are calling ICE to end their detention and let them come back to us and their classrooms, where they belong.

Thank you.

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Diverse coalition of activists risk arrest to stop immigrant deportations, call for immediate end to detentions
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.”


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.


Tacoma, WA–Hunger strikers, continuing their strike now for more than forty days, have called for a rally outside the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) on May 1st at noon, a historical day of action for immigrant and worker rights. Ramon Mendoza Pascual and J. Cipriano Rios Alegria remain under solitary confinement due to their participation in the strike. Mr. Rios Alegria was taken to a legal visit on Easter Sunday in leg shackles, which remained on throughout his visit. (see attached picture) Nevertheless, he remains positive and hopes to hear the support of people outside the detention center on May 1st. Mr. Mendoza Pascual has now been on hunger strike 43 out of the last 48 days.

An outbreak of chicken pox has spread through the women’s area of the NWDC, alarming the captive women. The women had seen Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and GEO Group guards wearing protective masks in the unit for four days, but were told that the guards were trying to avoid the flu. Only upon preparing for legal visits on Sunday were several women finally told that they were exposed to chicken pox and that there was an outbreak in their unit, and instructed to wear masks when visiting with outside legal representatives. They had not previously been informed of this and were given no access to protective measures or offers of vaccination.

Army veteran Hassall Moses was released from solitary confinement this past week, following widespread outcry at this retaliatory measure. Mr. Moses had been accused of calling for a work stoppage and spent nearly one month in 24-hour lockdown as a result. He has called for people to gather outside the NWDC on May 1st, a national day of immigrant advocacy, and hopes that supporters will not only address issues of detainee treatment like better food and access to medical care but also appropriate compensation for work done by the detainees inside the NWDC, who currently are paid $1 per day of work. He says that “as you rally outside, we’ll do our best to support you from in here.”

Momentum has been growing across the country to support the hunger strikers in the NWDC, as well as to push for an end to deportations and an end to abusive prison labor practices. In Alabama, prisoners have launched a work strike to combat what has become a slave labor system, as well as overcrowding and lack of access to healthcare. Yesterday, three dozen Indian asylum seekers ended a 10-day hunger strike in El Paso, Texas, to protest what has become their six month of detention through ICE with no foreseeable end. The May 1st rally at the NWDC will run from noon to 1pm on May 1st, at which time participants are encouraged to head to Seattle for an annual May Day March and Rally.

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