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Immigration Advocates Call for Transparency Regarding Mesa Verde ICE Detention Facility

February 20, 2019 -- San Francisco – The Northern California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice (NCCIJ), along with over 70 legal service providers, issued the statement below regarding the Mesa Verde Detention Facility. The Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco is a NCRRIDN partner organization and houses the attorney coordinator for the network.

Media contacts:
Hamid Yazdan Panah
Regional Director, Northern California Rapid Response and Immigrant Defense Network
(415) 782-8912

Liz Martinez
Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications, Freedom for Immigrants
(956) 572-4349

 

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.

 

Signatories:

  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 Law Caucus: Asian Americans Advancing Justice 
  9. Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach
  10. Block by Block Organizing Network, Oakland
  11. California Sanctuary Campaign
  12. Building Healthy Communities Kern
  13. Canal Alliance
  14. Center for Gender & Refugee Studies - California
  15. Central American Resource Center of Northern CA
  16. Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative (CVIIC)
  17. Cid and Macedo, Inc.
  18. Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc
  19. Community Justice Alliance
  20. Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto
  21. California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) Foundation
  22. Democratic Women of Kern
  23. Dolores Street Community Services
  24. Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin
  25. Faith in the Valley
  26. Greenfield Walking Group
  27. Humboldt Rapid Response Network
  28. Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)
  29. Immigration Center for Women and Children
  30. Immigration Task Force, Rapid Response Network of Monterey County
  31. Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice
  32. Innovation Law Lab
  33. Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
  34. International Institute of the Bay Area
  35. Jakara Movement
  36. Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco
  37. Kern Welcoming and Extending Solidarity to Immigrants
  38. Kids in Need of Defense
  39. La Raza Centro Legal, San Francisco
  40. La Raza Community Resource Center
  41. LAGAI -- Queer Insurrection
  42. Latinos United for a New America aka LUNA
  43. Law Office of Emilio J. Huerta
  44. Law Office of Helen Lawrence
  45. Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
  46. Legal Services for Children
  47. Lideres Campesinas en California inc,
  48. Monterey County Rapid Response Network
  49. NorCal Resist
  50. North Bay Rapid Response Network: Solano, Napa and Sonoma Counties
  51. Northern California Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association
  52. Open Immigration Legal Services
  53. Pacifica Social Justice
  54. Pajaro Valley Rapid Response
  55. Peninsula Temple Beth El
  56. Radio Bilingüe, Inc.
  57. Rapid Response Network in Santa Clara County, CA
  58. Rapid Response Network of Kern
  59. Sacramento ACT
  60. Sacramento Immigration Coalition
  61. Sacred Heart Community Service
  62. San Diego Rapid Response Network
  63. Services, Immigrant Rights & Education Network (SIREN)
  64. Sisters of Mercy
  65. Social Justice Collaborative
  66. STEP UP! Sacramento
  67. Tahirih Justice Center
  68. The Justice & Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco
  69. The Sacramento Family Unity, Education, and Legal (FUEL) Network
  70. UFW Foundation
  71. Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City (UUFRC) Social Action Committee
  72. University of San Francisco Immigration & Deportation Defense Clinic
  73. Upper Kern Democratic Club
  74. Valley Watch, Rapid Response Network
  75. Vision y Compromiso
  76. Watsonville Law Center
  77. Women’s March Kern County

 

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The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) advances fairness and equality by providing pro bono legal services to low-income people and educational programs that foster diversity in the legal profession. JDC is the largest legal services providers in San Francisco. JDC’s primary purpose is the delivery of free legal services to low-income San Franciscans, as well as the non-profits that serve them. JDC delivers free legal services through its  Legal Services Programs  division, which consists of the Pro Bono Legal Services Program, Homeless Advocacy Project, and the Immigration Program. JDC provides enrichment programs to diverse youth and young adults through its Diversity Educational Programs.  JDC’s programs serve approximately 9,500 disadvantaged San Franciscans a year, with the overarching goal of assisting the community’s most vulnerable members with accessing the judicial system and strengthening their personal, professional, and economic security.

The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of attorneys, law students, and legal professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF enjoys the support of more than 7,500 individuals, law firms, corporate legal departments, and law schools. Through its board of directors, its committees, and its volunteer legal services programs and other community efforts, BASF has worked actively to promote and achieve equal justice for all and oppose discrimination in all its forms, including, but not limited to, discrimination based on race, sex, disability, and sexual orientation. BASF provides a collective voice for public advocacy, advances professional growth and education, and attempts to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and respect in the practice of law.