Freedom for Immigrants and over 70 advocacy groups and legal service providers call for transparency regarding Mesa Verde ICE Detention Facility


Media contacts:

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