March 11, 2014
From: BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest
Contact: Nicole Ramirez, (360) 362-3455, firstname.lastname@example.org,
BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest Regional Co-Coordinator
In Solidarity with the Hunger Strikers at the Northwest Immigration Detention Center in Tacoma, WA
Members of BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest stand together in support of the detainees taking part in the hunger strikes at the Northwest Detention Center, and urge Immigration and Customs Enforcement and GEO Corporation to open negotiations with the strikers to address their demands.
Our organizations, which represent Filipino youth, students, scholars, women, workers, artists, and migrants in the Pacific Northwest region, is part of BAYAN USA, a national alliance of 18 progressive Filipino organizations. We work to support workers’ and immigrants’ rights, to end community violence, and to educate young people about Philippine history and culture.
We are aware of the inhumane conditions and the for-profit nature of the Northwest Detention center owned and operated by the GEO Corporation. We are fundamentally against any institution that profits from stripping away a person’s rights and separating them from their family and communities.
We support the hunger strikers’ calls for better food quality, improved treatment that includes access to medical treatment, an increase of wages for their work in the facility, and an end to exorbitant commissary prices.
Most importantly, we support their demand to stop the deportations and detainments. Many of those detained are contributing members of our community, live in our neighborhoods, and have families of their own.
Since the S-Comm deportation program launched in Washington state, it has been responsible for removing more than 2,500 undocumented Washingtonians and their families from the state. The splitting up of families and community is a form of violence and it needs to stop.
Many of us and our family members had been forced to leave the Philippines due to the dire economic conditions tied to years of U.S. intervention and military occupation. Similarly, those in the detention facilities are disproportionately from the global south and countries facing conditions of poverty and military occupation that have forced them to migrate. This is not just an issue of immigration, but also one of racial and economic injustice.
Furthermore, we denounce any use of harassment and retaliation towards the detainees on strike, such as verbal abuse, isolation, and forced feeding. We call on ICE and GEO to listen to their demands, stop the deportations, improve their treatment, and treat them with respect and dignity.
BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest
Alay ng Kultura
Philippine U.S. Solidarity Organization
Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines