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Council Member Olgy Diaz Passes Resolution to Support Access to Phone Services for Northwest ICE Processing Center Detainees

Council Member Olgy Diaz Passes Resolution 41378 to Support Access to Phone Services for Detainees in the Northwest ICE Processing Center


March 5, 2024 


Maria Lee, Media and Communications, maria.lee@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-2054


Council Member Olgy Diaz Passes Resolution 41378 to Support Access to

Phone Services for Detainees in the Northwest ICE Processing Center


TACOMA, Wash. – Tonight, the City Council unanimously adopted Resolution 41378, authorizing an expenditure of $10,000 from the Council Contingency Fund in support of the Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest (AIDNW) Phone Call Fund, provide detainees in the Northwest ICE Processing Center (NWIPC) access to phone services. At-Large Council Member Olgy Diaz was joined by co-sponsors Mayor Victoria Woodards, At-Large Council Member Kristina Walker and District 5 Council Member Joe Bushnell in bringing forward Resolution 41378.


“Detainees lack the basic human and civil rights that many of us take for granted,” said At-Large Council Member Olgy Diaz. “People who are detained are held without guaranteed access to legal help, while being largely isolated from their loved ones, and I have seen firsthand how heartbreaking that is. Tacoma is a city where people try to look out for one another, and I share and have heard the deep concern expressed by our community members about the wellbeing of those detained at federal detention facilities nationwide, including the Northwest ICE Processing Center in Tacoma. This resolution is one step I and my City Council colleagues can take to support those detained in Tacoma while we continue to advocate for systemic immigration reform across the country that treats everyone with fairness, dignity and the humanity they deserve.” 


Resolution 41378 emphasizes how crucial communication with the outside world is for detained people. This includes individuals facing deportation while detained in immigration detention centers, who do not have the right to court-appointed counsel. The NWIPC requires detainees to utilize a private, for-profit phone service to place phone calls. Low-income individuals detained in the NWIPC risk being unable to afford to pay for phone access and face reduced access to legal support and poor mental and emotional health impacts from isolation. These allocated funds would be used by AIDNW to distribute phone funding in $20 per month increments to up to 105 low-income detainees. Funds received can be used by detainees to call friends, family, and legal advocates. 


“AIDNW understands that communication is not just a lifeline; it's a pathway to hope and justice,” said AIDNW Executive Director Deborah Cruz. “By establishing phone fund programs inside detention, those detained have a voice amidst their silence, empowering them to connect with loved ones, legal counsel, and support networks. It's not just about calls; it's about restoring dignity, amplifying voices, and making a profound difference in the journey towards freedom and fairness.”


AIDNW is a non-profit organization that serves immigrants detained in the Pacific Northwest through assistance, advocacy, and increased awareness. Through hands-on immigrant assistance programs, AIDNW’s small staff and over 200 volunteers address the needs of detained persons held inside the NWIPC, and upon release. Detained immigrants can call the AIDNW Hotline to request phone funds. Information on how to contact AIDNW is posted inside the NWIPC. More information about AIDNW is available at aidnw.org.