3/24/2014 4:07:00 PM Protestors stand with ICE-detained hunger strikers
Catholic Sentinel photos by Rocio Rios
Rally-goers gather outside of the U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement Detention Facility Monday morning in downtown Portland.
Maya Miranda Silva, 6, holds a sign: “No more deportations!”
Monday morning, Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project and allies
gathered in front of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Detention Facility to stand in solidarity with hunger strikers in
Approximately 1,200 inmates at the Northwest Detention Center in
Tacoma have been on a hunger strike since March 7 to protest the harsh
treatment of inmates, as well as the Obama Administration’s detention
and deportation policies.
Matt Cato, director of the Archdiocese of Portland’s Office of Life, Justice and Peace, spoke at the rally.
Cato quoted Pope Francis, who says, “a change of attitude toward
migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away
from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and
marginalization toward attitudes based on a culture of encounter.”
Aside from calling attention to deportation policies, the strikers’
demands include: improved food quality and treatment (including medical
care) at the detentions centers; increased pay for work in the facility
(the current rate is $1 per day); a decrease in commissary prices; and
“fairness and justice.”
Hunger strikers say they will continue until federal officials meet
their demands; many have been placed in solitary confinement and
threatened with force-feeding, Voz leaders said.
April 5, Voz is organizing a local rally as part of a national day of
action against deportations called “Two Million Too Many.” In Portland,
supporters will gather from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., at St. Peter Church, 8623
SE Woodstock Blvd. For more information