More than 40 immigrants held at the Northwest Detention Center on Tacoma’s Tideflats are taking up another hunger strike, according to an immigrant rights group.
Forty-seven detainees began their protest at lunchtime Tuesday, NWDC Resistance spokeswoman Maru Mora Villalpando said.
The detainees are protesting conditions in which they are detained, which they also did two weeks ago.
The immigrants are expected to refuse food for about 72 hours, Mora said, the longest they can go before medical staff gets involved at the Geo Group-owned facility.
The immigrants, held at the facility as they await immigration hearings or deportation, can continue their protest beyond 72 hours by taking turns refusing food.
“It’s really up to them, but that’s what we know so far,” Mora said.
After 72 hours, all detainees continuing a hunger strike could be taken into isolation in the medical department and offered medical treatment, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Rose Richeson said. ICE can then petition the courts to begin involuntary treatment if detainees decline it.
Richeson said there was no indication yet of organized meal refusals at the Northwest Detention Center. Detainees will continue to be offered three meals a day at the facility, she added.
Mora said four people who took part in the previous hunger strike were transferred from the Tacoma facility to the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facilities in The Dalles in an act of retaliation.
In the April 10 protests, more than 100 detainees at the 1,400-person facility took part. They passed around a letter seeking better and cheaper food, more hygienic conditions and quicker legal access, among other demands.