Hunger Strike Begins in Rural Oregon

May 2, 2017

Press Release
Gorge ICE Resistance

The Dalles, OR – At least five immigrants detained at the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility (NORCOR), a rural jail in The Dalles, OR, are now on hunger strike to demand humane conditions. The hunger strikers were moved to NORCOR from the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA in retaliation for demanding humane conditions. They continue their hunger strike initiated inside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA, where over 750 detainees have participated in the strike now entering its fourth week. Community members who are part of the Gorge ICE Resistance Coalition rallied outside of NORCOR (211 Webber St.) on May 1, 2017 in solidarity with the hunger strikers.

“Today we met with a hunger striker who is being held in prison-like settings for over a year even though they are not charged with any crime,” says local clergy John Boonstra who documented inhumane conditions at the facility in visits with detainees today. “They are not allowed to work, but are charged $0.25 per minute to make phone calls to family and friends. They don’t have access to basic hygiene needs such as deodorant, dental floss and clean socks. They are allowed outside for only one hour per day, often in the early morning hours. Conditions are so bad that they are risking their own health and safety to bring these unjust realities to the public eye.”

One hunger striker told Gorge ICE Resistance today, “It’s not fair what they’re doing to us. We have basic needs. We’re immigrants, but we have rights like any human being. To take those away from no reason isn’t right.”

NORCOR is a public jail funded by Hood River, Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam counties that is violating state law by using Oregon public facilities to enforce federal immigration law. NORCOR’s participation in the federal deportation process violates ORS 181.850A, which prevents state and local police from using Oregon public resources in enforcing federal immigration law.

“These ICE detainees are human beings and deserve to be treated with dignity,” says Amy Krol, resident of The Dalles. “Their living conditions at NORCOR are so terrible that they are willing to deny themselves sustenance for that dignity. Are we willing to have the grace to listen to them?”

Gorge ICE Resistance is a coalition of several local organizations throughout the Columbia Gorge who have formed to support the NORCOR hunger strikers, including Gorge Ecumenical Ministries, Somos Uno, Hood River Latino Network, Mid-Columbia Community Action Network, Gorge ReSisters, Community Action Network, Grassroots IMPACT, and more.Φ

Contact: Gorge ICE Resistance – Solea Kabakov, 541-980-9242, solea.kabakov@gmail.com
Rural Organizing Project – Jessica Campbell, 541-999-8144, jessica@rop.org

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