Where ICE and CoreCivic have failed to provide adequate protection against the COVID-19 pandemic, community organizations want to be sure the Otay Mesa Detention Center does not become a death camp
When: Friday, April 24, 2020
Time: 2:30 PM
Location: Otay Mesa Detention Center
7488 Calzada De La Fuente, San Diego CA 92154
SAN DIEGO, CA — CA State Assemblymember Lorena González (District 80), together with members of the American Friends Service Committee, Doctors for Camp Closure (San Diego), Otay Mesa Detention Resistance, Pueblo Sin Fronteras, and the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, will deliver 1000 face masks to people detained at San Diego’s Otay Mesa Detention Center. The action takes place amidst concerns from people detained at the facility that ICE and CoreCivic, the for-profit prison company that runs the facility, have not adequately addressed measures that will prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"This is about basic humanity. ICE and Core Civic have a responsibility to do everything in their power to stop unnecessary transmissions of the virus. We are simply trying to help with that," stated CA State Assemblymember Lorena González about the delivery of face masks to people detained at the Otay Mesa Detention Center.
Over the last month, people from multiple pods at the Otay Mesa Detention Center have organized hunger strikes to protest the lack of basic precautionary measures, such as supplying those incarcerated with face coverings. In fact, two weeks ago, CoreCivic guards retaliated against women who repurposed their shirt sleeves into face masks by firing an unknown chemical agent at them. The women were refusing to sign a document that released CoreCivic from any liability should they become ill. Furthermore, CoreCivic would supply the women with face masks only if they signed the document.
“I was detained at Otay Mesa and have been in constant communication with people currently detained,” said Edgar Reyes of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, who was detained at Otay Mesa for 5 months, 11 days and has now won his asylum case. “The medical attention and hygiene precautions were minimal when I was detained. The conditions in the immigration jail since the COVID-19 outbreak have only deteriorated, and the negligent actions of ICE and CoreCivic have turned a bad situation into a critical emergency.”
The groups will notify CoreCivic of their intention to deliver the masks. ICE Field Director Gregory Archambeault has the authority to release all migrants detained at the Otay Mesa Detention Center, and it is especially urgent that he do that now. Not doing so risks that the facility becomes toxic for the whole of San Diego.
The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. More at: www.afsc.org
Doctors for Camp Closure is a non-partisan organization of over 2,200 physicians and healthcare professional from all specialties who oppose the inhumane detention of migrants and refugees who are attempting to enter the United States of America. More at: https://d4cc.nationbuilder.com
The Otay Mesa Detention Resistance is a group of local community members organizing against the inhumane detentions and human rights abuses at the Otay Mesa Detention Center. As long as migrants and refugees are subject to state oppression, we will work alongside them to honor and raise up the dignity, humanity, and agency of every migrant. More at: https://www.otaymesadetentionresistance.org
Pueblo Sin Fronteras is a transborder organization made up of human rights defenders of diverse nationalities and immigration statuses that promotes accompaniment, humanitarian assistance, leadership development, recognition of human rights, and coordination of know-your-rights training along migrant routes, as well as monitoring and raising awareness of human rights abuses against migrants and refugees in Mexico and the United States. Our accompaniment does not end at the border, it continues in the immigration detention centers of the United States and the communities in Mexico and the US. More at: https://www.pueblosinfronteras.org
The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium is a project of Alliance San Diego. Since 2007, community, faith, labor, and legal organizations have come together as the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC). Through SDIRC, these organizations are pursuing four common goals: support comprehensive immigration reform; stop the spread of local policies and practices that target and violate the civil and human rights of immigrants; educate immigrants, and educate the public about the important contributions of immigrants. More at: www.immigrantsandiego.org.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents California’s 80th Assembly District, located in southern San Diego County, including the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, and National City. She serves as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Women in the Workplace, and Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus. For more information on Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez visit https://a80.asmdc.org/.