September 14, 2018 Press Release, NWDC Resistance
Tacoma, WA- A Temporary Restraining Order against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been filed today by attorneys, Junga Subedar and Edward Alexander in association with the Whatcom Civil Rights Project and the Law Office of Edward S. Alexander, P.S. to prevent ICE from attempting to force feed at least one person on hunger strike. As of September 14, 2018, one person has not been eating for 24 days to demand medical attention and his release from the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC). The lawsuit requests that the court grant a temporary restraining order to stop force-feeding and solitary confinement for one person at imminent risk. Resistance activists have identified 2 more people (totaling at least 3 people) on hunger strike. Hunger strikers demand adequate medical care and reunification with their family members.
Junga Subedar, attorney with the Whatcom Civil Rights Project, representing one of the at least two people known to be on hunger strike at NWDC stated, “Exercising the right to free speech and to hunger strike is fundamental to the constitution, which applies to everyone. They are hunger striking to show the government and people outside how bad the conditions are at the detention center and that they and their loved ones are hurt by U.S. immigration policies. Detained people are using one of the only things they have left, their bodies, to convey suffering and injustice. We need to protect their right to do so if so they choose.”
At the same time people detained continue to demand better conditions and freedom from detention, last week at least two housing units (pods) have been quarantined due to another varicella (chickenpox) outbreak. This is the second varicella outbreak confirmed at the NWDC this year, and this is the third year in a row of varicella quarantines, which activists believe is due to substandard sanitary conditions.
NWDC Resistance is a volunteer community group that emerged to fight deportations in 2014 at the now-infamous Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA. NWDC Resistance supports people detained who organize hunger strikes asking for a halt to all deportations and better treatment and conditions.