TEHRAN, April 12, YJC -Hundreds of detainees at a refugee center in Washington state have gone on hunger strike in protest at their living conditions at the facility.
TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -
More than four hundred detainees at the Northwest Detention Center in the port city of Tacoma refused their meals Monday and called for better food and faster legal proceedings, according to a statement from Northwest Detention Center Resistance.
According to activists, this delayed immigration hearings for which they had been waiting since they were arrested by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
According to activist Maru Mora Villalpando (pictured below), some of the detainees have had their legal paperwork lost when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents abruptly transferred them out of state while waiting months for hearings.
Although Seattle ICE spokeswoman Rose Richeson said the agency was aware of the situation in Tacoma, she added still the protest cannot be considered as a hunger strike under ICE guidelines until it had lasted at least 72 hours.
"Right now it's more of a meal refusal thing that some of the detainees have done," Richeson said in a telephone interview.
The authorities will isolate any detainees that cross the 72-hour limit and then a court could eventually order that they should be provided with medical care, according to ICE guidelines.
In fiscal year 2016, ICE put over 350,000 individuals in civil detention facilities, according to the department’s website.
Hundreds of immigrants at federal detention centers across the country have gone on hunger strikes in recent years, calling for improved conditions or to be released.
New President Donald Trump’s policies with regards to refugees have also caused mass protests across the United States.
Trump had previously ordered to impose a 90-day entry ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia, block refugees from Syria indefinitely, and suspend all refugee admissions for 120 days, but it was blocked not long after being released by a federal judge. He later revised the immigration ban which was again blocked by a court.