FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Hamid Yazdan Panah, Northern California Rapid Response and Immigrant Defense Network, (415) 782-8912
Liz Martinez, Freedom for Immigrants, (956) 572-4349
Immigration Advocates Call for Transparency Regarding Mesa Verde ICE Detention Facility
Over 70 legal service providers, advocacy organizations and community groups in Northern California are calling for transparency regarding the fate of individuals detained at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center (also referred to as the Mesa Verde Detention Facility).
Following the announcement that the city of McFarland voted in closed session to end an agreement with the Geo Group Inc. to operate the facility, legal service providers and the clients they represent have not been provided clarity as to the future of the facility.
In response to the lack of information from either U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Geo Group Inc., a coalition of legal service providers issued the following statement:
We are profoundly concerned about the fate of the people imprisoned in the Mesa Verde facility, and what the future holds for them. The fact that we have not been provided any information about whether they face transfer, relocation, or release, leaves legal service providers unable to mobilize and coordinate the resources that may be necessary if this facility were to be closed.
The Mesa Verde facility houses up to 400 individuals, most without legal representation, whose cases are before the San Francisco Immigration Court. Our duty is to ensure that these individuals have access to legal support and that their due process rights are protected.
The past termination of ICE contracts with jails in Northern California resulted in sudden transfers of numerous clients to facilities outside of our jurisdiction, and even out of state, which put a tremendous strain on our limited resources to serve the most vulnerable individuals in our region.
Access to counsel is a fundamental right, and any plans to move detained individuals who are in the middle of legal proceedings undermine this right. The uncertainty with regards to these individuals’ access to local legal service providers disrupts our ability to coordinate representation and violates the due process rights of these individuals.
Multiple inquiries to ICE and GEO have provided no clarity as to the future of the facility. Therefore we demand to uncover the truth about the future of Mesa Verde:
ICE and GEO must provide the public clarity as to whether or not the facility is to remain open and operational.
If the facility is to remain open, ICE and GEO must provide information regarding any changes in the administration and legal status of this facility.
If the facility is to close, ICE must provide an exact timeline of closure, and what plans exist for the transfer, relocation or release of those detained at the facility.
If the facility is to close, ICE must also ensure that the closure is just and fair. This includes allowing everyone who is eligible for release to be reunited with their families and community, as opposed to being sent to detention facilities hundreds of miles away from legal counsel or community support.
Statement from Freedom for Immigrants Co-Founder/Executive Director Christina Fialho:
“We have been visiting and monitoring the Mesa Verde Detention Facility since it opened in 2015 and we have documented deplorable conditions, including medical neglect. We also have been visiting and monitoring other GEO Group facilities throughout the United States since 2012; instead of working with advocates to address substandard medical care and human rights abuses, GEO and ICE have adopted a head in the sand approach by denying that these problems exist. Now GEO Group is trying to circumvent state law for the company’s own financial gain. Well, not on our watch.”
1. Northern California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice (NCCIJ)
2. Northern California Rapid Response and Immigrant Defense Network (NCRRIDN)
3. Freedom for Immigrants
4. ACLU of California
5. African Advocacy Network
6. Alianza Sacramento
7. Arab Resource and Organizing Center
8. Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach
9. Block by Block Organizing Network, Oakland
10. California Sanctuary Campaign
11. Building Healthy Communities Kern
12. Canal Alliance
13. Center for Gender & Refugee Studies - California
14. Central American Resource Center of Northern CA
15. Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative (CVIIC)
16. Cid and Macedo, Inc.
17. Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc
18. Community Justice Alliance
19. Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto
20. California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) Foundation
21. Democratic Women of Kern
22. Dolores Street Community Services
23. Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin
24. Faith in the Valley
25. Greenfield Walking Group
26. Humboldt Rapid Response Network
27. Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)
28. Immigration Center for Women and Children
29. Immigration Task Force, Rapid Response Network of Monterey County
30. Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice
31. Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
32. International Institute of the Bay Area
33. Jakara Movement
34. Kern Welcoming and Extending Solidarity to Immigrants
35. Kids in Need of Defense
36. La Raza Centro Legal, San Francisco
37. La Raza Community Resource Center
38. LAGAI -- Queer Insurrection
39. Latinos United for a New America aka LUNA
40. Law Office of Emilio J. Huerta
41. Law Office of Helen Lawrence
42. Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
43. Legal Services for Children
44. Lideres Campesinas en California inc,
45. Monterey County Rapid Response Network
46. NorCal Resist
47. North Bay Rapid Response Network: Solano, Napa and Sonoma Counties
48. Northern California Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association
49. Open Immigration Legal Services
50. Pacifica Social Justice
51. Pajaro Valley Rapid Response
52. Peninsula Temple Beth El
53. Radio Bilingüe, Inc.
54. Rapid Response Network in Santa Clara County, CA
55. Rapid Response Network of Kern
56. Sacramento ACT
57. Sacramento Immigration Coalition
58. Sacred Heart Community Service
59. San Diego Rapid Response Network
60. Services, Immigrant Rights & Education Network (SIREN)
61. Sisters of Mercy
62. Social Justice Collaborative
63. STEP UP! Sacramento
64. Tahirih Justice Center
65. The Justice & Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco
66. The Sacramento Family Unity, Education, and Legal (FUEL) Network
67. UFW Foundation
68. Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City (UUFRC) Social Action Committee
69. University of San Francisco Immigration & Deportation Defense Clinic
70. Upper Kern Democratic Club
71. Valley Watch, Rapid Response Network
72. Vision y Compromiso
73. Watsonville Law Center
74. Women’s March Kern County
75. Asian Law Caucus: Asian Americans Advancing Justice
76. Innovation Law Lab