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Call On California Governor Newsom to Urge ICE to Free Detained Immigrants & Asylum-Seekers


©Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“There’s no social distancing; they’re living in close quarters. They don’t have access to hand sanitizers...” — Lawyer describing the Adelanto ICE Processing Center near Los Angeles

Tens of thousands of immigrants and asylum-seekers are trapped in ICE detention facilities across the U.S., where they cannot practice physical distancing, face increased risk of contracting COVID-19 in overcrowded conditions, and have limited access to medical care. These jails run the risk of becoming incubators for COVID-19.

There are thousands of people detained in the state of California, and their continued detention poses a grave risk to their health, the health of facility staff, and the public health of surrounding communities. The first individual to die of COVID-19 in ICE custody, Carlos Escobar Mejia, contracted the virus while detained at Otay Mesa Detention Center in California. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disproportionately impact people of color, and the Otay Mesa and Adelanto facilities house large numbers of Black and Brown asylum-seekers.

Governor Newsom can use his public health authority to pressure ICE to substantially reduce its immigration detention populations in facilities in the state, mitigate the otherwise inevitable spread of COVID-19, and protect immigrants and asylum-seekers.

While representing different organizational views and calls to action, AIUSA is joining together with Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), Centro Legal de la Raza, Families Belong Together, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Immigrant Defense Advocates, Innovation Law Lab, Never Again Action, OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates, Oxfam America, Physicians for Human Rights, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the Women's Refugee Commission to urge Governor Newsom to take action to help protect immigrants and asylum-seekers in California.

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Last updated 7 May 2020

Governor of California
Governor of California