Several inmates at an immigration detention center in Tacoma have been moved to isolation. Immigration officials confirm the separation started late last week. It comes on the heels of a recent hunger strike at the facility.
Officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Seattle declined to say exactly how many detainees have been moved. But attorneys in contact with the detainees claim 20 men have been placed in what they call “solitary confinement." The attorneys also say the men all took part in a recent hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center.
The protest called for better food and treatment at the facility and a change in US deportation policy.
During the strike, detainee Ramon Mendoza Pascual refused food for 15 days. In a recent interview, he said he planned to keep up the fight.
“I’m not afraid. I’m going to keep going. It doesn’t matter if they reprimand me. I’ll stick with this until there’s a solution," says Pascual.
Pascual is now in part of the group in isolation, according to his wife.
In a statement, ICE officials say the individuals were moved for safety and security reasons. The agency says it received multiple complaints that some individuals were intimidating other detainees into participating in protests.
Last month, 750 detainees in Tacoma joined in the hunger strike. ICE says one person involved in the protest is still under medical observation.
Copyright 2014 KUOW.