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Hunger Strikers At Northwest Detention Center Moved To Isolation

A file picture from Oct. 17, 2008, shows the 'B' cell and bunk unit of the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
File photo of the interior of Northwest Detention Center.

Several immigrants being held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma have been moved to isolation after a recent hunger strike at the facility.Immigration officials moved to separate the detainees last Thursday.

In a statement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say the individuals were moved for safety and security reasons. The agency says it received multiple complaints that some individuals were intimidating other detainees into participating in protests.

ICE officials in Seattle declined to say exactly how many detainees have been moved, but attorneys in contact with the detainees claim 20 men have been placed in what they call solitary confinement. The attorneys also say the men all took part in a recent hunger strike at the detention center.

The protest called for better food and treatment at the facility, as well a change in U.S. deportation policy.

During the strike, detainee Ramon Mendoza Pascual refused food for 15 days. In a recent interview, he said he planned to keep up the fight.

“I’m not afraid. I’m going to keep going," he said. "It doesn’t matter if they reprimand me. I’ll stick with this until there’s a solution.”

Pascual is now in isolation, according to his wife.

Last month, 750 detainees in Tacoma joined in the hunger strike. ICE says one person involved in the protest is still under medical observation.

Year started with KUOW: 2006