U.S.

750 immigration detainees on hunger strike in Washington state

The strike started as a protest against deportations and center conditions, activists say

Protesters chant slogans calling for an end to deportations outside the ICE offices in Phoenix Feb. 22, 2014.
Valerie Fernandez/AP

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has confirmed that 750 detainees at the Northwest Detention Center in Washington state have refused to eat and say they are on a hunger strike.

An immigrant activist says the hunger strike started Friday as a protest against deportations as well as center conditions.

The center currently houses nearly 1,300 people being investigated for possible deportation.

ICE spokesman Andrew Munoz says the agency respects the right of people to express their opinions without interference.

The detainees are under continuous observation by center staff and medical personnel.

Activist Maru Mora says the hunger strikers are seeking better food and treatment as well as better pay for center jobs.

ICE detention standards state that a detainee who has not eaten for 72 hours is considered to be on a hunger strike.

The Associated Press

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