Third Hunger Strike in Three Weeks Starts at the NWDC, People Detained Spell SOS With Their Bodies in the Yard

An SOS from inside the NWDC calling out #FreeThemAll
Amplify the message of those on hunger strike, take action now!

Just a few hours ago at the Northwest Detention Center a new hunger strike launched, with hunger strikers spelling out the distress signal, SOS, in the yard of the detention center, reflecting the emergency they are facing and demanding ICE release them from detention immediately.
Today’s hunger strike marks the third to occur at the facility in just three weeks, following over 60 immigrant women who were on strike last week and prior to that, 300 people were on strike at the NWDC the first week of April. A rise in hunger strikes at the Northwest Detention Center and in detention centers across the country underscores the panic and desperation people feel as concerns over COVID-19 infection intensify.

In the last three weeks there have been 16 confirmed hunger strikes nationwide as people in immigration detention are protesting their incarceration during a global pandemic

People on hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center are demanding:

  • To be released from detention immediately. The SOS distress signal is our desperate call for help from every elected official to respond and do whatever they can to get us out now. Our lives are in imminent danger and we do not want to die in detention. This is an emergency. People navigating their immigration cases should be able to do so with their families and in community rather than behind bars.
  • We call on ICE to stop lying. ICE is actively hiding information from the public on the dire situation in immigration detention and the people inside who are bravely speaking out against it with hunger strikes. There have been three hunger strikes at NWDC alone in the past three weeks, and we will continue to go on hunger strike until everyone is released from NWDC and safe from being exposed to COVID-19.


  1. Email local ICE Field Office Director Nathalie Asher using the provided template.
  2. Email and call Governor Inslee using the provided template.
  3. Share on social media: Write the hunger striker demands on a piece of paper, along with one or all of these hashtags: #FreeThemAll #ShutDownNWDC #DerrumbandoFronteras #BreakingDownBorders Take a selfie with the demands and post on social media using the hashtags and tagging @jayinslee @laresistencianw
  4. Listen to & share the testimony from those detained at NWDC during the global coronavirus outbreak about conditions inside.
  5. Learn more about ICE’s shameful record of medical negligence, poor sanitation, and demonstrated inability to respond to past infectious disease outbreaks in this Detention Watch Network report, Courting Catastrophe: How ICE is Gambling with Immigrant Lives Amid a Global Pandemic.