Hunger strikes continue at the NWDC

Hunger strikes continue at the NWDC. Take action now and support the hunger strikers, support the work to end detention and deportations!

Vigil Today:
WHEN: FRIDAY, Sep 8th, 4:30-7:30pm
WHERE: Northwest Detention Center, 1623 E J St. Tacoma, WA 98421

Free the Cuban Asylum Seekers! Sign the petition:

Manuel Riveron on Hunger Strike Without Water in NWDC.
Cuban Asylum Seeker Resumes Hunger Strike After Yesterday’s Hearing

Tacoma, WA – In a courtroom at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, Manuel Riveron, one of the hunger strikers that stopped eating on August 27th demanding their immediate release, was told by an Immigration Judge this morning that she was confused and did not understand why the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has denied him parole. Saying that there was nothing that the Court could do to further his case at this time, the Judge recommended Manuel and another Cuban asylum seeker in the hearing find lawyers, and also apply for parole again. After today’s hearing, Mr. Riveron decided to begin his strike again, refusing all food and water. Manuel Riveron had decided to stop his ongoing strike yesterday to prepare for today’s court, in hopes that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s promises of release if he began eating again would be realized. “They lied to me, they lied and I won’t eat or drink water until they deliver their promise” said Manuel Riveron in a phone call. “They are playing with our lives and I won’t let them, I’d rather die than spend another day in here,” added Mr. Riveron.

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The Cash Bail System Is Unconstitutional—So Why Won’t the Practice End?

This is the first article in Rewire‘s two-part series on the cash bail system. You can read part two here.

Low-income people spend an average of 23 days in jail before going to trial, wreaking havoc on their lives and those of their loved ones, simply because they cannot pay bail. For Sandra Bland, who died in jail after being arrested during a traffic stop, the cost of being held on bail was her life.

Not only is the widespread practice of cash bail immoral, it is unconstitutional, lawyers say.

“The poor people who can’t pay get detained, and the wealthier people get released, and that’s what we think is wrong,” explained Alec Karakatsanis, founder and executive director of Civil Rights Corps, which brings cases arguing the illegality of cash bail to courts across the country. “It’s an equal protection violation, because it’s creating a system where the poor are detained and the rich are freed; and it’s a due process violation, because it’s keeping presumptively innocent people in jail prior to trial without the procedures and findings necessary to justify that kind of deprivation of liberty.”

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Cincinnati Pension Board working to divest private prison industry holdings worth $2.5M

Via Fox 19 

A Cincinnati councilman says the city is taking steps to divest its pension fund from the private prison industry.

Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld’s office uncovered pension fund holdings that include indirect exposure to private prison companies CoreCivic and GEO Group, and direct exposure to G4S, to the tune of 598,137 shares worth $2,535,964.99.

Sittenfeld was joined Wednesday on the front steps of Cincinnati City Hall by the ACLU of Ohio; the Ohio Justice & Policy Center; the Cincinnati NAACP; the Cincinnati Chapter of the National Action Network; former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland; Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley; fellow Cincinnati Councilmembers; the Ohio Civil Services Employees Association; the AMOS Project; and community members and criminal justice reform advocates.

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How much do private prisons stand to gain from Trump’s immigration enforcement policies?

A GEO corrections vehicle patrols outside of the Great Plains Correctional Facility in Hinton, Oklahoma.
Source: Sue Ogrocki/AP

President Donald Trump ran a campaign touting his aggressive goals to arrest, detain and ultimately deport many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States. So far, Trump has made a concerted effort to realize those promises, implementing hardline immigration policies that have contributed to a 39% increase in immigrant arrests over the first six months of his presidency.

That statistic is more than just a bragging point for Trump, who’s eager to please his supporter base — it’s money in the pockets of for-profit prisons across the U.S.

The GEO Group, one of the country’s largest private prison companies, is particularly optimistic when it comes to how Trump’s policies could impact its bottom line. While the company has seen a 2% decrease in earnings since Trump took office, GEO Group’s executives say the spike in arrests, coupled with longer detention times and potential Congress appropriations, will likely make up for it. And then some.

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GEO Group and ICE threaten transfers from the Northwest Detention Center, Hunger Strikers Decry Retaliation

Tacoma, WA – At least two immigrants who have been held in solitary confinement since August 4th, 2017, have resumed hunger striking. Rather than investigate the guard’s assault on an 18-year-old youth named Omar, the private company (GEO Group) and Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) have teamed up to threaten those held in solitary confinement with charges of “planning a riot” and transfers to worse facilities in retaliation.

Hunger strikers call for the immediate release of all detainees who have been held for four years or more and their release back into the general population. GEO has accused them of “planning a riot” because they protested a guard assaulting a youth on August 4th, 2017. The boy had recently been transferred to the NWDC after turning 18, after arriving as an unaccompanied youth and held by child services until he was eligible for detention and deportation. After his assault, GEO guards placed the facility on lockdown — no phones, no lawyer visits, not even lights. Approximately twenty people were placed into solitary confinement, of which over 15 went on strike last week and at least three of them lasted five days.

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Cities use divestment to strike back at Trump’s immigration policies

Via Think Progress | By Kira Lerner
A group from Los Angeles area churches carry crosses along the two fences that separate Tijuana, Mexico, behind, and San Diego. CREDIT: AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Two days before President Trump revealed his first budget plan, a blueprint that included a request for an immediate $1.5 billion and then $2.6 billion more next year to fund the construction of a wall along the Mexican border, the Berkeley city council met in a building 508 miles from the border and more than 2,800 miles from the White House.

Just 3.2 percent of the city had voted for Trump in November — only Detroit had less support for the man who would be elected president. And yet his administration was already plotting how to follow through on his campaign promises to crack down on both legal and illegal immigration and to build a wall that a majority of Americans don’t want.

Hunger Strikers Demand Release from Solitary Confinement in Tacoma’s Immigration Prison

Tacoma, WA – Over 15 immigrants held in solitary confinement continue on hunger strike. The hunger strike began on Tuesday at 11am when 20 immigrants were taken to solitary in retaliation, highlighting poor detention conditions and a violent and hostile environment for up to 1,575 people held by the GEO Group for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The hunger strikers have issued demands to GEO Group and ICE, calling for them to respect the humanity of detainees. The hunger strike will resume once all 20 people are returned to general population.

Hunger strikers demand that the 20 people who were placed in solitary confinement for “planning a riot” after the event that happened on August 4th because they yelled at a GEO guard who was assaulting a youth be released back into the general population. The boy had recently been transferred to the NWDC after turning 18, after arriving as an unaccompanied youth and held by child services until he was eligible for detention and deportation. After his assault, GEO guards placed the facility on lockdown — no phones, no lawyer visits, not even lights. Since then, the facility is on “modified lockdown” and even those not held in solitary confinement have reportedly been told that they cannot talk to each other.