Leader of Hunger Strikes in Northwest Detention Center Meets His Fate

April 23, 2015 4:34 am
by David Jakeman

The Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma Washington often inspires a feeling of foreboding for the undocumented immigrant community. And it has also been the focus of many immigration reform advocates trying to make their voices heard. Last year, the Northwest Detention Center made national headlines for hunger strikes being held by many being detained. One of the major leaders was Cipriano Rios, and he has now been deported from the United States to Nogales, Mexico.

Hunger Strike

The hunger strike in Washington inspired hunger strikes throughout the country. Rios helped lead hundreds of detainees in refusing to eat in order to put pressure on the center to provide better living conditions. Rios was said to have gone without food for 20 days. He was also put in isolation in response to his actions.

Rios leaves behind a wife and children who reside in Oregon. The Northwest Detention Center houses undocumented immigrants from all over the Pacific Northwest. He ran afoul of the law when he was arrested for driving under the influence. Some observers wonder if he was deported more secretly in order to avoid protests that would have blocked the deportation buses.
This would not be the first time activists have tried to slow deportations by blocking traffic set to carry immigrants from the detention center. But even blocking the busses does little to slow the tide of deportations. It just provides a momentary delay in the seemingly endless stream of deportations. The Rios family’s difficult wait is over, unfortunately not with the outcome they had hoped to have.1

Northwest Immigration Detention Center

Being held in an immigration detention center can be a very scary thing, both for those detained and for family members wondering what the best thing to do is. The help of a competent Tacoma immigration lawyer can be very useful in making sure a detainee receives all the help they can in having their case heard.

Because of a backlog in immigration cases and uncertainty in the national immigration debate in the federal government, it can be even more nerve wracking waiting to hear what will happen to a loved one. There are many questions about practices in detention centers. Many have also questioned the number of privatized operations that care more about profit than the overall well-being of detainees. Avoiding detention centers is often a priority for undocumented immigrants, and making sure you hire a good immigration attorney is one of the first steps.

1 http://kuow.org/post/supporters-hunger-strike-leader-gather-tacoma-ahead-his-planned-deportation