(SEATTLE, WA, 3/22/2024) – The Washington chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA), today called on the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) to immediately make necessary changes to ensure that Muslim people detained at NWDC can receive proper religious accommodations.

Northwest Detention Center is a privately-run immigration detention facility in Tacoma, Washington. This week, 10 days into the month-long observance of Ramadan, CAIR-WA received reports of Muslims detained at NWDC being denied timely and appropriate meals before and after fasting. During Ramadan, observing Muslims typically abstain from food and drink (including water) from sunrise to sunset. In addition, we have received reports that there is a lack of sanitary laundry and clean clothing. Cleanliness is an important part of the Islamic faith and necessary for prayers and fasting during the month of Ramadan.

Naeem, a 52-year old who is currently detained in NWDC, spoke to a member of La Resistencia and expressed that for the past 10-12 days of Ramadan food has not come on time, which is vital for him as he has diabetes. Timing of the evening meal is crucial, as observing Muslims have been fasting all day. Naeem also shared that he has lived in King County for 25 years and has been forced to be in NWDC for the past four and a half years.

“The suffering that NWDC has caused immigrant communities cannot be measured,” said Maru Villalpando, founder of La Resistencia. “The disrespect to Naeem’s religion during Ramadan is an important part of the violence that detention inflicts; GEO Group and ICE do not care about the bodily integrity of detainees, and they feel the same way about their spiritual integrity. I am hunger striking to permanently shut down this place, liberate all detainees like Naeem, and bring accountability to a place that has caused so much pain.”

SEE: ICE identifies man found dead at Northwest ICE Processing Center

“As families across Washington come together to celebrate Ramadan, it is extremely upsetting to learn that Muslims who are detained at NWDC have not been permitted to observe Ramadan along with the rest of us,” said Amanda Azad, Deputy Executive Director at CAIR-WA. “Many people inside of this detention facility are connected to the large and diverse Muslim community in Washington, so an injustice like this impacts all of us.”

On March 21, CAIR-WA sent a letter to Warden Bruce Scott at the NWDC, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement community relations office, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, outlining their duty to detainees. Detained people retain their constitutional rights, including the right to freely exercise religion.

CAIR-WA and La Resistencia seek justice for every migrant who is being detained in this private detention center, where poor treatment and conditions have been reported by people of all faiths and identities.

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

La Resistencia is a grassroots organization led by undocumented immigrants and people of color that have been oppressed by the immigration enforcement system, based in Washington State working to end the detention of immigrants and stop deportations.



CAIR-WA Senior Communications and Marketing Strategist Katie Walker, kwalker@cair.com, 425-367-9116

La Resistencia founder Maru Mora-Villalpando, (206) 251-6658, info@laresistencianw.org