More than 20 people are blocking exits at the Northwest Detention Center, a privately-run immigrant detention center in Tacoma with 1,575 spaces for detainees. The protesters, whose arms are locked together, deployed at 5:30 this morning. Stranger reporter Ansel Herz is embedded with them, tweeting live.
"In the hunger strike, they said we only have our bodies to do this," organizer Maru Mora Villalpando, who is undocumented, said. "We also only have our bodies and we're willing to risk arrest, and, in some cases, deportation."
Organizers say their goal is to stop buses of deportees from leaving. More than 20 people are locked together, blocking three exits.
— Ansel (@Ansel) September 21, 2015
GEO Group, the for-profit federal contractor operating the Northwest Detention Center, has received close scrutiny of late over contract language guaranteeing minimum bed quotas in its facilities. Bed quotas guarantee that the government pays for a minimum number of beds, and critics say the practice encourages ICE to detain immigrants and ship them to Tacoma.
In August, Villalpando and other activists blocked traffic in downtown Seattle for two hours to protest GEO's treatment of transgender detainees. At today's action, activists are emphasizing intersectionality with other movements.
We'll keep updating some of Ansel's tweets here. Follow him on Twitter for more.
I'm told activists voluntarily ended the blockade of the Northwest Detention Center at noon. Zero arrests! And no deportation buses got out.— Ansel (@Ansel) September 21, 2015
"No one arrested, no violence, no deportations," says Ahmed Gaya of Rising Tide. And that's that. pic.twitter.com/KJHBLPTtTA— Ansel (@Ansel) September 21, 2015