Detainees at ICE Tacoma facility announce hunger strike

TACOMA, Wash. - Hundreds of detainees at ICE's Northwest Detention Center launched a hunger strike Monday.

An activist group, NWDC Resistance, reported that more than 400 detainees are engaged in the action. 

The strikers want better treatment, with a list of demands that includes more expedited hearings, improved quality of food, improved access to medical care, lower commissary prices, and an increase in the $1 a day they receive for running basic services at the facility.

NWDC Resistance plans to rally outside the detention center until Wednesday in support of the strikers. 

In a prepared release, ICE confirms the detainees' actions, but goes on to argue that the action doesn't technically meet the agency's definition of a hunger strike:

"The current so-called hunger strike is more correctly termed a 'meal refusal' involving a number of detainees who have chosen not to eat meals provided by the cafeteria. All detainees continue to have access to purchase items from the commissary and as long as a detainee is eating commissary items they are not considered to be on a hunger strike."

Interviews with strikers, plus photos and video of the protest, are being disseminated on a Facebook page and a blog.

KGW will bring you more information about this story as it develops.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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