May 052017
 

On Saturday, several immigrant detainees in The Dalles went on hunger strike to amplify their demands for humane conditions inside of the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility (NORCOR) alongside the hunger strikers in the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA. After six days without food, the hunger strikers in NORCOR have ended their strike (for now) after winning a small victory on the path to immigrant fairness in the Gorge. One hunger striker wanted to tell community supporters, “Thank you! You built the foundation, and we framed the house together.”

Yesterday, NORCOR Administrator Bryan Brandenburg committed to provide ICE detainees microwaves to heat their meals, radios, and access to programs that inmates are offered. Hunger strikers have asked why it took a hunger strike to have access to a warm meal. With some concessions by NORCOR on the horizon, the hunger strikers say, “We need to stick together as people and fight for what we want to believe in. We can’t let them do whatever they want to us. There are laws that protect us as immigrants. We need to stand up and fight back.”

This is only the beginning. The conditions in NORCOR are still abhorrent. NORCOR is a rural jail that is publicly funded by Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, and Gilliam Counties. NORCOR is breaking Oregon state law 181A.820 by detaining immigrants and using state and local resources to enforce federal immigration policy.

Join contingents from across the state in The Dalles tomorrow, Saturday, May 6th from 12-2PM to celebrate this first victory, to show up in solidarity with the hunger strikers in NORCOR and Tacoma, and demand an end to ICE in NORCOR!

Click here for driving directions and parking info. Email us at jessica@rop.org if you’d like to bring a contingent, need housing, or have questions!

The strikers all have young children at home, and two have been indefinitely detained for over two years with no end in sight. They shared how hard it is not having any rights, being moved from facility to facility with no warning and no explanation, and worse yet not knowing how long they’ll be locked away before being released or deported. Today four clergy with Gorge Ecumenical Ministries visited the strikers in NORCOR and were blown away by their spiritual strength in such dehumanizing and unjust conditions in detention.

“We are relieved that the hunger strikers are eating again, but sorely disappointed it took six days without food and very little water to get NORCOR to provide microwaves and radios,” says Solea Kabakov of Gorge ICE Resistance. “NORCOR has a reputation for its horrible treatment of those inside its walls despite its big budget. The Dalles is a wonderful community of people who take care of each other, and I question whether NORCOR shares our values and uses our tax dollars appropriately.”

A growing coalition of groups called Gorge ICE Resistance have come together to support the hunger strikers — to amplify their message, their demands, and their call to get ICE out of NORCOR. Members of Gorge ICE Resistance include Gorge Ecumenical Ministries, Somos Uno, Hood River Latino Network, Mid-Columbia Community Action Network, Gorge ReSisters, Community Action Network, Grassroots IMPACT, Protect Oregon Progress and more.

We must continue to stay visible and vocal to ensure the courageous hunger strikers are not retaliated against for their actions. The visibility of folks outside helps amplify the message of those who are silenced behind NORCOR’s walls. As several local leaders of Gorge ICE Resistance have said, “It is our duty to shed light into the darkness.”

Immigrant detainees end 6-day hunger strike at Oregon jail after victory
Local Clergy to Meet with Immigrant Detainees at NORCOR

The Dalles, OR – Immigrants detained at the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility (NORCOR), a rural jail in The Dalles, OR, have broken their 6-day hunger strike after NORCOR administrator Bryan Brandenburg committed to the hunger strikers to provide microwaves to heat their meals, radios and access to programs that inmates are offered.

“Why does it have to come to this? We’ve been asking for these things for five months. Why did we have to do a hunger strike?” asked one of the hunger strikers yesterday, “We need to stick together as people and fight for what we want to believe in. We can’t let them do whatever they want to us.”

Community members in The Dalles will continue their daily rallies today, May 5th from 5-6:30PM. On Saturday, May 6th from 12-2PM, organizations from across the state will join the growing Gorge ICE Resistance coalition in a rally to demand that Brandenburg honor his commitments to the hunger strikers, and an end to NORCOR’s contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“We are relieved that the hunger strikers are eating again, but sorely disappointed it took six days without food and very little water to get NORCOR to provide microwaves and radios,” says Solea Kabakov of Gorge ICE Resistance. “NORCOR has a reputation for its horrible treatment of those inside its walls despite its big budget. The Dalles is a wonderful community of people who take care of each other, and I question whether NORCOR shares our values and uses our tax dollars appropriately.”

Two of the hunger strikers reported that they had children outside, and had been in detention for over two years.

Four local clergy, members of the Gorge Ecumenical Ministries, will visit detainees held in NORCOR this morning. They will speak with those who participated in the hunger strike to hear their stories and express ongoing community support to hold NORCOR accountable for its relationship with ICE and treatment of immigrant detainees. Clergy visiting ICE detainees today include: Reverend Red Stevens of St Paul’s Episcopal Church in The Dalles, Pastor Tyler Beane Kelly of Zion Lutheran Church in The Dalles, Reverend Judy Zimmerman of Mid-Columbia Unitarian Universalists and Pastor Kelly Ryan of Bethel United Church of Christ in White Salmon.

NORCOR is a public jail funded by Hood River, Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam Counties. NORCOR’s participation in federal detention and deportation processes violates ORS 181A.820, which prevents state and local police from using Oregon public resources in enforcing federal immigration law.

Friday, May 5, 5-6:30pm and Saturday, May 6, 12-2pm: Rally in support of NORCOR ICE detainees (211 Webber St; The Dalles, OR 97058). 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, Protect Oregon Progress and more.

 Posted by on May 5, 2017