Coalition of legal service providers and community organizations demand release of people held in ICE detention centers in northern and central California amid rapid spread of the coronavirus

Coalition of legal service providers and community organizations demand release of people held in ICE detention centers in northern and central California amid rapid spread of the coronavirus


Amid the COVID-19 outbreak threatening to spread rapidly through ICE detention facilities, a coalition of legal service providers and community organizations in California sent a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the administrators of local ICE detention facilities demanding they release all individuals held at the Mesa Verde Detention Facility in Bakersfield and the Yuba County Jail in Marysville, “starting with those who are at highest risk of serious illness if infected by the coronavirus.”


“ICE cannot guarantee the health and safety of detained people” states the letter sent by the coalition of legal services providers to ICE. “In the past, mumps, scabies, and other highly contagious diseases have spread amongst the detained immigrant population in Northern California and the Central Valley because facilities are overcrowded and do not meet basic hygiene or medical needs.” The coalition continues, “as recently as yesterday, ICE detainees in Yuba County Jail reported that they had not been provided with free hygiene supplies, such as soap or antiseptic wipes. Many ICE detainees at Yuba and all detainees at MVDF sleep in massive dormitories with dozens of others and are required to have meals mere inches from their fellow detainees. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes were not permitted in the facility when advocates visited last week.”


Until all individuals are released, the coalition demands that ICE and the facilities take the following urgent measures:


  • Provision of hygiene supplies
  • Screening and testing of all individuals in custody
  • Off-site quarantining and treatment of affected individuals
  • Free phone calls to access family and community support
  • Suspension of all in-person check-ins (as has been adopted by numerous Enforcement and Removal Operations (“ERO”) offices across the country)
  • Suspension of all enforcement operations and removals across Northern California and the Central Valley


The coalition requested that ICE to respond to the letter within 48 hours and has requested a prompt, remote meeting between advocates and David Jennings, the San Francisco ICE Field Office Director.


Organizations that have signed the letter to ICE include legal service providers and community organizations committed to protecting and advancing the rights of low-income, immigrant communities through legal representation, education and advocacy.


The full text of the coalition’s letter to ICE demanding the release of people held in detention centers in northern and central is available, here.


The coalition includes:


  1. ACLU of Northern California
  2. African Advocacy Network
  3. Alameda County Public Defender
  4. Alianza Sacramento
  5. Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)
  6. Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus
  7. Bay Area Asylum Support Coalition (BAASC)
  8. California Coalition for Women Prisoners
  9. California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice (CCIJ)
  10. California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA)
  11. Campaign for Immigrant Detention Reform
  13. Catholic Charities San Francisco
  14. Centro Legal de la Raza
  15. Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA)
  16. Community United Against Violence
  17. Detention Watch Network
  18. Dolores Huerta Foundation
  19. Dolores Street Community Services
  20. Education and Leadership Foundation
  21. Faith in the Valley
  22. Freedom for Immigrants
  23. Greenfield Walking Group
  24. Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network
  25. Human Impact Partners (HIP)
  26. Immigrant Legal Resource Center
  27. Immigration Defense Advocates
  28. Indivisible CA-7
  29. Indivisible Sacramento
  30. Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice
  31. Innovation Law Lab
  32. Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
  33. La Raza Centro Legal
  34. Latinos Unidos Por Educación
  35. Law Office of Aubra Fletcher
  36. Law Office of Cynthia Tyler
  37. Law Office of Helen Lawrence
  38. Law Office of Irma Perez
  39. Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
  40. Legal Aid at Work
  41. Legal Services for Children
  42. Marin County Office of the Public Defender
  43. Maryann Hrichak
  44. McGeorge Law School
  45. Nikkei Resisters
  46. NorCal Resist
  47. Oasis Legal Services
  48. Office of the San Francisco Public Defender
  49. Opening Doors, Inc
  50. Pangea Legal Services
  51. Resilience Orange County
  52. San Francisco Bay Area Day of Remembrance Committee
  53. San Francisco Rapid Response Network
  54. San Joaquin College of Law - New American Legal Clinic
  55. San Jose Nikkei Resisters
  56. Services, Immigrant Rights & Education Network (SIREN)
  57. Tsuru for Solidarity
  58. UFW Foundation
  59. Visión y Compromiso

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