U.S. News


Immigrant Detainees On Hunger Strike In Washington

As many as 1,200 immigrant detainees in Tacoma, Washington are refusing to eat in an attempt to spotlight U.S. deportation policies.
Posted at 7:45 AM, Mar 09, 2014

Immigrant detainees at a holding center in Tacoma, Washington are on a hunger strike. They're protesting U.S. deportations, while also demanding better conditions at the facility. 

It's hard to say how many are participating in the strike. Supporters say that number looks like 1,200 detainees, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say it's more like 750. (Via KIRO)

And that's the number local outlets are going with. 

"Around 750 detainees at the northwest detention center are refusing to eat." (Via KOMO)

"750 detainees at the northwest detention center are on a hunger strike right now." (Via KING)

Activists say they're trying to put a spotlight on deportations.

"Most of all it is that we need to be asking the question why they needed to be detained in the first place." (Via KCPQ)

An ICE spokesperson says the majority of the detainees at the Tacoma facility are from Mexico, and while the average stay at the holding center is four months — activists told reporters there are people who've been detained for years. 

Critics often note that more undocumented immigrants — some two million — have been detained under President Obama than under any other U.S. president. (Via Politico)

"Not one more! Not one more!"

A coordinated campaign called "Not One More Deportation" is organizing similar protests in states across the country. (Via YouTube / Mass JWJ)

The Tacoma holding center houses almost 1,300 people who face deportation. An ICE spokesperson told reporters the agency is committed to quote "sensible, effective immigration enforcement."