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Resolution Passes Advocating for Expansion of Health Interventions at the NWIPC Due to COVID-19

Tacoma City Council Passes Resolution Advocating for the Expansion of Health Interventions at the Northwest ICE Processing Center Due to COVID-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 4, 2020

 

MEDIA CONTACTS

Tanisha Jumper, Media and Communications, tjumper@ci.tacoma.wa.us, (253) 591-5152
Megan Snow, Media and Communications, msnow@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5051

 

Tacoma City Council Passes Resolution Advocating for the Expansion of Health Interventions at the Northwest ICE Processing Center Due to COVID-19

 

The Tacoma City Council passed resolution 40636 to directly address health and racial equity issues impacting individuals detained at the Northwest ICE Processing Center (NWIPC). Detainees are at risk of exposure to a COVID-19 outbreak within the facility, and many have reported health problems associated with exposure to disinfectant products. These immediate health concerns overlap with ongoing concerns about the rights and treatment of individuals detained at the NWIPC.

 

The resolution was brought forward by Tacoma’s Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (CIRA), which consulted with community members, including the advocacy group La Resistencia, in developing the proposed language.

 

"This issue underscores that immigrant rights are human rights, immigrant health is public health, and immigrant safety is community safety, regardless of a person’s status or past history,” said Jefferson Mok, Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs chair. “CIRA is proud to support this resolution, which is a clear example of community leadership from La Resistencia. We thank Mayor Woodards and City leadership for their responsiveness and close collaboration on this resolution, which CIRA views as a call for more action to end immigration detention in Tacoma.”

“It has been an honor to work with La Resistencia and the Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to craft the resolution that we passed tonight,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards. “The strength of this resolution lies in the collaborative spirit used to craft it, and I believe we must continue to work together to address the needs of Tacoma’s most vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

  

The resolution names the following actions:

  • Expresses support for those detained
  • Advocates for expanded health-related interventions at the Northwest ICE Processing Center (NWIPC)
  • Commits to continue to explore the City’s authority at the local level for regulatory oversight of the private detention center 
  • Supports the FIRST Act
  • Calls for the systematic release of all detainees under parole and bond, the end of transfers in and out of the facility
  • Calls for the suspension of the facility’s operations for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic

“The COVID-19 pandemic threatens the health of everyone in detention and our larger community,” said Council Member Chris Beale. “Today the Tacoma City Council joins the Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and La Resistencia to call on ICE to properly respond to this public health emergency by releasing all detainees in the Northwest ICE Processing Center and ceasing operations throughout the duration of the pandemic.” 

 

 “I am proud to sponsor this resolution with the Mayor and Council Member Beale and in partnership with the Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and La Resistencia,” said Council Member Kristina Walker. “We recognize the importance of collaboration in addressing human rights in Tacoma on a local level and the need to continue to further this work with our federal partners. This resolution is a great step and I’m committed to continuing the collaborative work.”

 

More information about the City’s Office of Equity and Human Rights is available at cityoftacoma.org/OEHR.

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