Who Are We?
La Resistencia is a grassroots organization based in Washington State working to end the detention of immigrants and stop deportations. Originally founded in 2014 to support a hunger strike launched by people detained in Tacoma, Washington to protest their confinement, La Resistencia began under the umbrella of the national #Not1More campaign as “NWDC Resistance.” Today, La Resistencia members support and engage with people detained at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington who organize for their own survival and in protest against the detention and deportation regime. We are a multi-racial, multi-status, multi-gender group that organizes across the prison barrier. Our goal is to shut down the NWDC, and to end all detention and deportation in Washington State.
Who is held at the Northwest Detention Center?
The Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, WA is one of the largest immigration prisons in the country, with a capacity to hold up to 1575 immigrants per day. People end up in the detention center after immigration raids, after being transferred from local law enforcement custody in our region, and after being transferred from the border regions. Up to 200 people, many of whom are seeking asylum, are transferred from the US-Mexico border to the NWDC each month. Other people held at the NWDC have lived in the US for years, in some cases for the majority of their lives. While some are deported after only weeks, some are held for months and even years awaiting the outcomes of their deportation cases. Few legal protections apply to these civil detainees, and those held are not entitled to an attorney at government expense; approximately 90% of them move forward in their cases unrepresented. The NWDC is operated by GEO Group, the second-largest private prison operator in the US.
What are we fighting for?
We plan to shut down Washington State’s privately-owned detention center as part of a broader national movement to end immigration detention. Our work aims to make it as difficult as possible for ICE to deport anyone from this state. In doing so, we stay connected and principled about centering the demands, struggles, and lived realities of people inside the NWDC, who bear the direct brunt of the violence of this system.
Paulino Ruiz inside the Northwest Detention Center holding a notebook open with the words written, “I am on hunger strike for my family for my people for my freedom. Equality of all Human Beings. Paulino Ruiz Mar-26-14″
On Friday, March 7, 2014, approximately 1200 immigrants held at the Northwest Detention Center began refusing meals. The hunger strike continued for 56 days, and two more hunger strikes were organized that same year, with strikers demanding improved detention conditions and an end to deportations. Since then, people detained have launched nearly 20 hunger strikes to oppose their detention, and the movement to shut down the NWDC has grown.
Want To Get Involved?
We welcome you to the fight to end deportations, detention, and criminalization of people of color. Help us organize alongside people targeted by immigration enforcement – join the movement to free people from prison and border enforcement systems!La Resistencia is a volunteer community group, and we invite you to join us in ending detention and deportation. Visit our ‘Get Involved‘ page to sign up for our email updates and get more information about Solidarity Days. Support our work through your Donations. Check out our Shut Down NWDC page for updates on how to get involved with the campaign to end immigration detention in Washington State. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. We’ll see you at our protests outside the detention center!