Updated: Mar 1, 2022
October 13th 2020 For Immediate Release
California State and Federal Officials Join Advocates Decrying Public Health Threat Posed by ICE
A delegation of 26 California state legislators, led by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) submitted a letter to the California Department of Public Health seeking answers on the role and responsibility of state public health authorities with respect to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and immigrant detention in the state of California. This effort comes in the wake of a letter submitted to ICE by House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) demanding answers about the alleged “Sanctuary Op” / “political messaging campaign.”
Both letters follow recent announcements by ICE that it would conduct an “enforcement blitz” in California despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the spread of COVID-19 in California detention facilities, and the agency’s own pandemic response requirements which advise against the transfer of individuals into detention.
Incorporated in ICE’s pandemic response requirements is language requiring ICE detention facilities to coordinate with and abide by state public health mandates. As a result, elected officials joined advocates who launched a campaign to engage with local and state public health officials about their roles and responsibilities with respect to ICE detention and enforcement.
“According to press reports, ICE is launching raids during a pandemic in our communities for the purposes of a PR campaign,” said Jackie Gonzalez, Policy Director with Immigrant Defense Advocates. “These raids not only violate ICE’s own agency guidelines, but pose a grave threat to the health and safety of our immigrant communities, and our state at large. ICE’s own detention standards require coordination and compliance with state public health mandates. Therefore we demand that public health authorities in the state of California do everything in their power to protect the health and safety of all California residents from the threat posed by ICE’s cruel and callous actions.”