Tacoma, WA – As the hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center enters its 21st day, Hassall Moses, detained immigrant and U.S. army veteran, faced swift retaliation after suggesting hunger striking detainees add a work stoppage to their peaceful protest. Attorneys visiting hunger strikers were informed that Mr. Moses had been pulled from the general population after attempting to print a letter calling for a work stoppage. Audio of Mr. Moses explaining being placed in solitary confinement has been obtained and is available upon request.
In the recording made on March 26th, Mr. Moses states he is in solitary confinement “Because I tried to type up a letter making a work stop protest.” He explains, “I got put into segregation last night. I printed out a letter asking my fellow detainees to come together as one people, united.” He goes on to describe how his letter was intercepted by a GEO employee, who “called the Sergeant and they put me in segregation.” He describes his reasons for calling for a work stoppage, stating, “Basically this facility is run by the detainees, and that if everybody stopped working, we could negotiate the pay raise, because right now everybody is working for a dollar. We could talk about the quality of the food, the living conditions.” He explains that he has been detained for 21 months, fighting his deportation without legal representation, and is “just trying to do this for my kids.” Between 80% and 90% of those detained at the Northwest Detention Center navigate their deportation cases before the Immigration Court without legal counsel.
Dozens of individuals continue on hunger strike in the Northwest Detention Center. They remain committed to their demands for improved detention conditions and a moratorium on deportations, and are calling for their release to their families and communities. At the Joe Corley Detention Facility in Conroe, Texas, where detained immigrants last week began a hunger strike of their own, ACLU attorneys were denied access to hunger strikers yesterday, and concerns over ICE’s retaliation continue to grow. Both hunger strikers and outside supporters are gearing up for the April 5th national day of action to mark two million deportations under the Obama Administration, with a large rally planned that day outside the gates of the Tacoma facility.