TACOMA, Wash. -- The noise outside Tacoma City Hall resonated within Tuesday night.
"No justice, no peace ... no justice, no peace!"
Protesters' voices, and the banging of pots and pans echoed all the way to the City Council chambers, where inside dozens of people stood to voice their concerns over the U.S.-Mexico border immigrants being detained at the Northwest Detention Center just a few miles away.
"I’m a pregnant mother, a Tacoma resident and homeowner, and I am appalled and alarmed that Tacoma continues to support and profit from the Northwest Detention Center," one woman told the City Council. "Abolish ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), decriminalize migrations and prisons and return native land."
One of the complaints voiced by many at this hearing was about a new chain-link fence just outside the detention center. Some feel it impedes on their right to demonstrate.
The city of Tacoma says this new fence is there to protect people’s safety and their right to demonstrate. The city says train crews expressed concern over the large number of a people gathering here. This new fence is 8 feet from the train tracks, which is the minimum safe distance required by BNSF.
Members of the Northwest Detention Center Resistance took to the podium to say they are petitioning the city to revoke the business license of the private company that operates the prison.
"I have a petition we gathered, it was signed by over 600 people so far," another woman told the council.
Mayor Victoria Woodards says the city is committed to fostering a welcoming, immigrant-friendly environment through multiple initiatives, partnerships and commissions.
"Tacoma remains a welcoming city that is committed to providing immigrant and refugee communities with equitable access to city services," the mayor said.