Who Are We?
La Resistencia is a grassroots organization led by undocumented immigrants 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 grassroots immigrant led 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) also known as NW ICE Processing Center in Tacoma, WA is one of the largest immigration prisons in the country, with a capacity to hold up to 1975 immigrants per day. People end up in the detention center after being transferred from prisons in our state after ending their sentences, after being detained during immigration raids in our region, and after being transferred from the border regions. Up to 100 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 and in the west coast. 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 and should led this fight in evert sense.
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 over 30 hunger strikes and organized direct actions to oppose their detention, and the movement to shut down the NWDC has grown.
Want To Get Involved?
We have achieved a lot of victories so far! In our State we have HB1090, a law that passed in 2021 which prohibits for profit private prisons and detention center for adults. We also stopped deportation flights taking off from Seattle in 2018. In October 2021 people detained won a lawsuit against GEO Group for stealing their wages and not paying them the Washington minimum wage. Yet the detention center remains open and operating at a smaller capacity. We must continue the fight because we are really close!
We welcome you to the fight to end deportations, detention, and criminalization of people of color. Help us organize following the lead of people targeted by immigration enforcement – join the movement to free people from prison and border enforcement systems! 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!