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PRESS STATEMENT: Confirmed ICE Custody Repopulation at Yuba County Jail

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

Contact: Edwin Carmona-Cruz | 415-933-4922 | edwin[@]

December 30, 2021

For immediate release

Confirmed ICE Custody Repopulation at Yuba County Jail

As Omicron cases surge, advocates worry so will immigrants in detention

Northern California – As of December 27, 2021, at least 1 person is confirmed to be detained in ICE custody at the Yuba County Jail (YCJ). The “suicide jail” sat empty of civil immigrant detainees since October 27, 2021, when Ricardo Vazquez Cruz was the last person released from the notorious jail. The news of repopulation comes on the heels of a surge of the highly contagious Omicron variant that has resulted in the highest number of new daily COVID cases the country has ever seen. Yuba County Jail is known for its inhumane conditions, retaliation by guards, medical neglect and tragic deaths, the most recent of which occurred on December 1, 2021.

“It is unconscionable that ICE would start to repopulate Yuba during the holiday season, a time when families are meant to be together,” said the FreeTheYuba 11 Coalition. “This situation could have been completely prevented if DHS Secretary Mayorkas had terminated the contract between the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department and ICE when the facility held 0 individuals in its custody, as 25 Members of Congress urged him to do over two months ago. Meanwhile, the sheriff’s department pocketed over $1.4 million from ICE for two months for an empty facility. Secretary Mayorkas’s failure to swiftly act will result in more community members experiencing severe harm or even death from COVID-19 and and the inhumane conditions at the jail.”

ICE has a known pattern of conducting enforcement operations late at night or during the holidays, which makes it far more difficult for targeted community members to access due process. The FreeTheYuba11 Coalition will continue to work with the robust infrastructure of legal service providers located in Northern California to ensure that any and all individuals detained at YCJ have access to legal representation and a fighting chance for freedom. Immigrants who survived ICE custody at Yuba County Jail continue to call on Secretary Mayorkas and ICE to terminate the contract immediately.


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