The ACLU of Washington and Columbia Legal Services are seeking a court order to prohibit U.S. Immigration and Enforcement officials from retaliating against detainees who participated in a hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma last month by putting them in solitary confinement.
A hearing on the motion for a temporary restraining order is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Friday before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan in Tacoma.
ICE officials had no comment.
The strike at the detention center has attracted national attention and several members of Congress have intervened on the detainees’ behalf.
In early March, several hundred of them began a hunger strike, protesting national immigration policy and what they characterized as unfair conditions inside the center.
Eventually all ate, but on March 24 some began a new hunger strike. The ACLU said ICE began placing detainees in solitary confinement on March 27. They were kept in a cell 23 hours a day in retaliation for their support of the strikes.
ACLU attorneys say the detainees were put into solitary after corrections officers invited about 20 of them to meet with an assistant warden to discuss the reasons for their strike.
They said those who attended the meeting were immediately placed in handcuffs and taken to individual isolation cells. The ACLU said the detainees were not told why they were placed in solitary nor how long they would be kept there.