A dozen protesters, including two undocumented immigrants, locked arms in the driveway of the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma at 6:30 a.m. this morning to protest the Obama administration's record-breaking mass deportations of immigrants.
How we gonna get it? People power! #not1more pic.twitter.com/qBmJLzXJsMJolinda Stevenson, an activist with Not One More Deportation, says they blocked one bus full of detained immigrants—she says they were likely being deported—from leaving the facility. After three hours, the protesters took their leave.
— Dan Berger (@authordanberger) February 24, 2014
Under Obama, immigration authorities have deported nearly two million people, more than during any other administration."The President can’t be a champion for immigration reform and the Deporter-in-Chief at the same time," says protester Milton Cornejo in a statement. "I’m tired of living in fear and wondering if I’ll see the rest of my family at the end of each day."
The Northwest Detention Center (detention center is a milder phrase standing in for "prison," since immigrants can be incarcerated there for years while their cases are processed) is owned and operated by the GEO Group, a private prison conglomerate that earned $1.6 billion in revenue last year. In a 2008 joint study, Seattle University's School of Law and advocacy group One America interviewed 46 detainees at the facility and concluded that "conditions are substandard, and are not even in compliance with the National Detention Standards, much less international human rights law."
"The president’s stated policy since taking office is 'enforcement on steroids' in order to gain credibility and give him leverage on negotiations over immigration reform,” Jessica Karp, an attorney for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, which is organizing protests like this at detention centers around the country, told the Washington Post earlier this month. "That strategy is a failure. It’s failed politically and caused untold suffering in the immigrant community. It’s time for a new strategy."