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Hunger Strikers at the Mesa Verde Detention Center in Bakersfield CA Demand Action from Gavin Newsom & Javier Becerra

Below is a letter that nearly 100 organizations across the state have endorsed supporting the demands of hunger strikers at the Mesa Verde Detention Facility in Bakersfield, CA. Strikers demand that Gov. Newsom and Attorney General Becerra take broader steps to protect detainees from COVID-19 exposure.

The Honorable Gavin Newsom

1303 10th Street, Suite 1173 Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Xavier Becerra Attorney General

State of California 1300 I Street Sacramento, CA 95814

 

Dear Governor Newsom and Attorney General Becerra,

On April 16th, 2020 the following statement was shared by detainees in the Mesa Verde Detention Facility:

As we continue our hunger strike inside Mesa Verde, it has come to our attention that the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has sent a letter to DHS asking them to take action on ICE detention in California. We appreciate this effort, but DHS and ICE are well aware of what is happening inside detention centers in California and across the country, and have refused to act. We would like to remind Mr. Becerra that under California law his office has the right to inspect all immigrant detention facilities in the state, and to oversee the standards of care in these facilities. We ask Mr. Becerra’s office to join his own call to action and reach out to those of us who are currently held in immigrant detention facilities in his state, and help protect our due process and our struggle for freedom. His office can document what is taking place here, at a time when ICE is trying to deny our ability to organize and speak out. We also call on Governor Newsom to protect the health of everyone in California, including those of us in immigrant detention. He cannot leave these matters in the hands of private corporations, or a federal agency that does not care about us. We have asked them to take action every day and they have refused. That is why we are organizing and speaking out, just like many others in detention. While ICE works to undermine our resistance efforts, intimidate us and our supporters, and deny us our basic rights including access to commissary funds, we ask the Attorney General and the Governor to take concrete action. In solidarity with our brothers and sisters in detention and prisons in California and across the country during this desperate time. -Mesa Verde Detention Center, Dormitory C In the face of inaction by ICE, and negligence by for-profit operators, we join the call to action by individuals unjustly detained in Mesa Verde and appeal directly to your office to take concrete action. Our state is now home to the largest outbreak of COVID-19 in any immigrant detention facility in the country, with more than 19 people confirmed to have the virus in Otay Mesa. More than 90% of the 5,200 people in detention are held in private, for-profit facilities. These corporations operate with no transparency or accountability, and should not be tasked with making public health decisions for those in detention or the surrounding communities. California has the legal authority, and in fact the moral responsibility, to take action on this issue. As advocates, attorneys, and community members we urge you to use your authority to ensure the health and safety of those held in these facilities. If the state does not take clear and concrete action immediately, immigration detention, like other forms of incarceration, will become a death sentence.

Sincerely,

1. Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus

2. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles

3. African Advocacy Network

4. Alianza Sacramento

5. Amigos de Guadalupe Center for Justice and Empowerment

6. Asylum Sponsorship Project

7. Bay Area Asylum Support Coalition (BAASC)

8. Black Alliance for Just Immigration

9. California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice

10. California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance

11. California League of United Latin American Citizens

12. California Sanctuary Campaign

13. Campaign for Immigrant Detention Reform

14. Central American Resource Center- CARECEN- of California

15. Centro Legal de La Raza

16. Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative (CVIIC)

17. Coastside Immigrant Advocacy Group

18. Comite VIDA

19. Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc.

20. Council on American-Islamic Relations – California

21. Democratic Socialists of America Kern County

22. Detention Watch Network

23. Dolores Huerta Foundation

24. Dolores Street Community Services

25. Education and Leadership Foundation

26. Estamos Unidos

27. Faith In Action Bay Area

28. Freedom For Immigrants

29. Graton Day Labor Center / ALMAS

30. Human Agenda

31. Human Impact Partners (HIP)

32. ICE Out of Marin

33. Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity

34. Immigrant Defense Advocates

35. Immigrant Legal Defense

36. Immigrant Legal Resource Center

37. Immigration Task Force (Monterey)

38. Indivisible Sausalito

39. Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity

40. Kern Welcoming and Extending Solidarity to Immigrants (KWESI)

41. La Plaza: Nuestra Cultura Cura

42. Law Office of Helen Lawrence

43. Legal Aid at Work

44. McGeorge Community Legal Services

45. NorCal Resist

46. North Bay Organizing Project

47. North Bay Rapid Response Network

48. Open Immigration Legal Services

49. Pacifica Social Justice

50. Pajaro Valley Rapid Response

51. Pangea Legal Services

52. Peninsula Progressive Action Group

53. Public Counsel

54. Public Law Center

55. Raizes Collective

56. Rapid Response Network in Santa Clara County

57. Rapid Response Network of Kern

58. Rapid Response Network of Monterey County

59. Sacramento Immigration Coalition

60. Sacred Heart Community Service

61. San Joaquin College of Law – New American Legal Clinic

62. San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network

63. San Francisco Public Defender

64. SIREN (Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network)

65. Solano County Rapid Response Network

66. SOMOS Mayfair

67. STEP UP! Sacramento 68. Street Level Health Project

69. Streetwide

70. SURJ Marin (Showing Up for Racial Justice)

71. The Multicultural Center of Marin

72. Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo Social Justice Ministry

73. UFW Foundation 74. USF Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic

75. Vital Immigrant Defense Advocacy and Services (VIDAS)

76. Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club

77. West County Rapid Response

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