There are hunger strikes occurring at prisons across the country. In Washington, over 200 detained immigrants are participating.
The strike at the Northwest Detention Center started on Aug. 21 and is set to last until Sept. 9. Democracy Now reported the reason behind the strike was to demand change and closure of detention centers.
“We are acting with solidarity for all those people who are being detained wrongfully,” strikers said, “and stand together to help support all those women who have been separated from their children, and to stop all the family separations happening today, for a lot of us are also being separated and we have U.S. citizen children.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), however, said that there was no hunger strike.
The Stranger called ICE and was told to refer to a press release. When asked if there was an actual person to talk to, ICE said no and to refer to the press release.
“Rumors of an ongoing hunger strike by detainees at the NWDC are false,” the aforementioned press release read.
Earlier this month there was a hunger strike at detention facilities in Texas. Entire families who had been reunited were quickly detained again. Helpless and forbidden from being released into the U.S., barred from being voluntarily deported, they remained under lock and key in a family prison. They staged their protest.
ICE had no comment on that hunger strike, according to NPR.
That doesn't make these strikes any less real. The Northwest Detention Center Resistance, an activism group geared toward supporting NWDC detainees, was contacted by three detainees who confirmed the strike.
This is the third hunger strike for detainees at NWDC in 2018.
“Failure to eat the facility provided meal is not a stand-alone factor in the determination of a detainee’s suspected or announced hunger strike action,” ICE’s statement went on to read. Commissary food items remain available for purchase by detainees.
The Stranger asked ICE if any of these hunger strikes actually existed in their opinion. ICE has yet to return comment.