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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

March 14, 2014 at 2:56 PM

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith seeks answers in Tacoma detainees’ hunger strike

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith said he’s pushing for answers from officials at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma over concerns raised by detainees who have been on a hunger strike there for a week.

The strike — over food options, pay and other conditions at the facility — has drawn broad attention from immigrant-rights and social-justice groups across the country.

By Friday, at least three detainees, of about 1,300 held at the center, were under medical observation for not eating.

The center detains immigrants being processed for possible deportation.

In a statement today, Smith said his office initiated a conversation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and detention-center officials earlier in the week to “directly express my concerns as well as relay questions my constituents and I have about what is going on and what is being done to fix the situation.

“Although we received some answers, we are still waiting for a formal response on many questions we submitted with Rep. [Suzan] DelBene’s office.” Those, he said, including questions about the process for detainees to post bond, the length of detention and nutrition standards.

ICE has said it’s working to address the detainees’ concerns, although detainees released in recent days have said nothing had changed.

Comments | Topics: Adam Smith, immigration, Northwest Detention Center

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