Protesters fighting for immigrant rights camp outside Northwest Detention Center

TACOMA, Wash. - A group of people protesting the detention and separation of immigrant children from their mothers that happened while they crossed the border have set up a tent encampment outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.

Feet outside of the chain-link fence at the entrance of the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, are about a dozen tents.

Inside the tents there is food; outside there is music and singing. At a quick glance, the campsite could look like a celebration, but people living in these tents say that is the furthest thing from why they are there.

“This isn’t a party we’re not here to play around,” said Andy Ribaudo.

Ribaudo started the push to occupy the space outside the detention center. On Thursday, he says he came out for an organized rally to show support to the immigrant mothers who were separated from their children and activists say are now inside the Northwest Detention Center.

When people started packing up after the rally, Ribaudo says he decided to stay.

“I’m here to get stuff done, “said Ribaudo.

Ribaudo says he is just following the lead of the group NWDC Resistance. He says he felt like he could be doing more to take action; he says this cause is worth staying in his tent as long as it takes.

“These are children, children aren’t criminals,” he said.

The next morning more and more people started joining Ribaudo’s effort.

“I’ve never done anything quite like this,” said Angie Wambaugh.

Wambaugh says she was one of the first people to pitch her tent in support of Ribaudo’s effort.

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“This is America. We don’t lock people up in cages for misdemeanors,” she said.

Now dozens of people are staged outside of the detention center in tents.

Ribauldo says they have no plans to leave until they see real change.