100 signatures reached
To: To our community and Washington
TO: ICE - TACOMA NORTHWEST DETENTION CENTER (CENTRO DE DETENCIÓN DEL NOROESTE TACOMA) FREE MANUELA!
Manuela is a 36 year old woman who has been in the Northwest Detention Center since August 2022, immigrated to the US from Mexico when she was 19 years old fleeing the decade of sexual abuse from her stepfather who had impregnated her and had a son. In her attempt to enter the US, Manuela was kidnapped by the federal police of Ciudad Juárez, but she managed to escape and, seeking safety, started her new life in California. Unfortunately, her feelings of gratitude towards the wrong individual led to her arrest and a 5 and a half year sentence. In prison, Manuela decided to make the best of her situation and attended the various classes offered to her. She also took courses to help her with the trauma and depression she was experiencing. Despite the challenges she has faced, Manuela has remained strong and determined to heal her wounds and get better. Even then, she was subjected to sexual harassment from a prison officer known for assaulting migrant women.
Upon early release, instead of allowing her to reunite with her children who were eagerly waiting for her return, ICE detained her and sent her to Tacoma, Washington where she has been for almost a year. The facility was a constant reminder of the powerlessness of her situation, compounded by the fact that the personnel there routinely abuse the power they hold over detainees. She explains, GEO speaks to the detainees as if they were less than human, with no respect or dignity. Even the most basic requests for help were met with derision and belittling comments, if they were met at all. The conditions of the detention center are also deplorable, with few amenities and limited access to medical care. Furthermore, the cost of initiating a hunger strike to meet basic demands such as adequate food can be cruel and extreme. As an example, Manuela was aware of someone who was held in solitary confinement for 55 days before being deported. Minimal effort is also made for cleaning the facility as they only clean once a day for five minutes, and often leave it filthier than before. Furthermore, the clothing and underwear given to detainees have been used and are never new. Food regulations are constantly broken, Manuela recalls one occasion where she and other detainees have found a tooth in their food, as well as rocks and hair. She also witnessed a GEO guard dropping food on the floor, then picking it up and putting it back on the tray to serve it to detainees.
“This place should be shut down because it is inhumane, in the way they treat you. A mistake does not define what one is in life, we can always move on and be better people. Walls can't separate us from our family. When ICE tells me that I am a dangerous person, I know I'm not a dangerous person. It's not fair that they treat us like this.”.
Why is this important?
Manuela's story paints a vivid picture of the miserable conditions that exist within a detention center. The Northwest Detention center proves to be the epitome of inhumane conditions, coupled with the verbal abuse and lack of respect made by GEO and other personnel who work there. The lack of respect, dignity, and basic needs that Manuela and other detainees were subjected to is an affront to what it means to be human and the only way for it to be solved is abolishing the immigration system entirely and allow all detainees to be released.
La Resistencia is calling for the immediate release of Manuela and all detained at the Northwest Detention Center. These individuals deserve to be respected and treated with dignity, not subjected to inhumane conditions. Manuela should be seen as a courageous woman, for fleeing immense abuse and after having served her sentence. People who are fleeing violence and persecution should be allowed to do so without fear of deportation. We cannot allow Manuela to be further criminalized by an immigration system that disregards basic human rights and labels all migrants as criminals. Everyone has the right to freedom and the right to be with their family. By signing this petition, we can show our support for Manuela and demonstrate that she should not be deported but be allowed to reunite with her family. This is an opportunity for us to stand in solidarity with those whose basic rights have been trampled on and to demand that they be treated with respect, compassion, and humanity.