SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Department of Justice took heed to the numerous complaints regarding the conditions of immigrant detention facilities, which hold immigrants while they await immigration hearings. “We need a clear understanding of the conditions of detention facilities housing civil immigration detainees,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “California is once again setting a precedent for others to follow. As chief law enforcement officer, it is my duty to uphold the law. I will always protect the basic rights of all Californians, including immigrants.”
In the first 100 days of President Donald Trump being in office, thousands of immigrants; an increase of 38% have been arrested for no offense other than being undocumented. “America is a nation of immigrants, and whether you arrived recently or have lived here for generations, you deserve to be treated fairly under our Constitution and laws,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “If the federal government won’t ensure the safety and humane treatment of people held in detention in California, we must do that job and stand up for human rights.”
The Adelanto Detention Center has had three detainee deaths since March 2017. Furthermore, the facility has been accused of other poor treatment and inhumane conditions. The Orange County jail was found to violate national detention standards by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) inspector general. Some of the Orange County violations included low-risk detainees being placed in solitary confinement and rotten meat.
The legislature is working to combat the problem of billion-dollar private immigration facilities running with low inhumane standards. Detainees have reported physical and sexual abuse, poor access to healthcare, little-to-no access to legal counsel, and the overuse of solitary confinement. Adelanto Detention Facility is the largest privately run detention center with 2000 beds. Mesa Verde Detention Center, in the City of McFarland, is a 400-bed facility and Imperial Regional Detention Center in the City of Holtville is a 704-bed facility. Five jurisdictions also contract with ICE to hold detainees in local jails including Contra Costa County, Orange County, Sacramento County, and Yuba County.
Senate Bill 29, aiming to stop California cities from profiting from contracts with private detention facility and will allow the Department of Justice and local prosecutors to take legal action to enforce ICE detention standards. SB29 was approved by the Senate and will be heard by the Assembly Committee on the Judiciary.
Local residents near the GEO Adelanto Detention Facility are divided as to the conditions and treatment of the detainees. Some went as far as saying that the detainees should have no rights, while other believed they should be provided what they considered to be basic human rights. Adelanto City Councilman John R, Woodard Jr. called for the immediate deportation of those who he referred to as “invaders”, saying “They knew it was illegal when they came here. Now that they are here, they demand special treatment?” Some shared the sentiment of the Adelanto Councilman, while others vehemently disagreed. “Being treated as human beings while in detention is not asking for special treatment,” said Victor Valley resident Randy Thornton.
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This article was written by a staff member of the 24/7 Headline News Organization
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