Activists Claim Hunger Strike At Regional ICE Lockup In Tacoma

Immigrant inmates want more than $1 per day for what critics call "forced labor."

Activists protest the arrest of Francisco J. Rodriguez Dominguez. (Emily Joan Greene)

For the second time in three years—and for the first time since President Donald Trump ordered a nationwide immigration crackdown—inmates at the privately-run U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement prison in Tacoma, Wash., are protesting conditions there with a hunger strike.

Approximately 100 of the 1,500 inmates at the facility refused lunch today and will continue to refusing meals, according to NWDC Resistance, an activist group that led a 2014 hunger strike involving 1,200 inmates. Activists are also rallying outside the prison today.

According to an unsigned press release from NWDC Resistance, a letter with inmates' demands circulated prior to the strike and echoed concerns from the 2014 strike, including:

ICE and GEO Group, the private prison contractor that manages NWDC, are targeted by a federal lawsuit in Colorado alleging slave labor practices not unlike those described by the Washington State activists. The activists' announcement continues:

An ICE regional spokesperson told WW she was looking in to the matter. This post will be updated with ICE's response when the agency provides one.

Update 4:20 pm: ICE spokeswoman Rose Richeson supplied the following statement regarding the "purported 'hunger strike' at the Northwest Detention Center." The linked ICE guidelines, dated Dec. 2008, do provide for "involuntarily feed[ing]" after an inmate goes 72 hours without food.

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