Hunger Strike Highlights Desperation at Tacoma Detention Center

Immigrants Demand Asylum

More than a dozen immigrants detained at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma have launched a hunger strike in a desperate bid for freedom and a speedy resolution to their asylum cases. Organized by the grassroots group La Resistencia, this strike, starting February 2, 2024, marks the second action this year, emphasizing the detainees' growing frustration.

Detained for over two months with no progress in their cases, these 19 individuals are challenging the status quo, seeking to draw attention to their plight and the broader issues within the detention system.

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The NWDC, managed by the private corporation GEO Group, Inc., has been a point of contention, with repeated accusations of denied access to state health and labor inspectors, underscoring a systemic disregard for detainee welfare.

Legislative and Legal Battles

The backdrop to this hunger strike is a series of legislative and legal confrontations to improve conditions and oversight at facilities like NWDC. 2023 Washington State passed House Bill 1470, designed to expand state oversight following numerous complaints against the detention center.

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A significant legal milestone occurred in 2021 when a federal jury mandated that GEO Group must compensate detainees with the state minimum wage for their labor. Despite these advancements, actual change remains elusive, prompting detainees to take drastic measures to highlight their situation.

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The strikers' demands for freedom, alongside calls for congressional action on HB 1470 and a hearing to address a decade's worth of grievances, underscore the urgent need for reform and accountability in immigrant detention practices.

This unfolding situation at the Tacoma detention center, as reported by AOL News, reflects a critical juncture in the struggle for immigrant rights and dignified treatment. As detainees resort to hunger strikes to voice their desperation, the broader community is called upon to scrutinize and address the systemic issues within the U.S. immigration detention system.

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