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With No Clear Plan in CA, Advocates Call on Officials to Ensure Vaccine Distribution in Detention

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

Hamid Yazdan Panah, Immigrant Defense Advocates–

Edwin Carmona-Cruz, California Collaborative for Immigrant

January 27, 2021

For immediate release

With No Clear Plan in California, Advocates Call on State Officials to Ensure Vaccine Distribution for Immigrants in Detention

Sacramento, CA — Immigrant rights organizations are demanding California state officials to clarify their plans to provide COVID-19 vaccines to immigrants in six detention facilities in the state, after federal officials indicated that final decisions on vaccinations for detained immigrants would be delegated to states.  The letter, which was signed by more than two dozen immigrants rights organizations from across the state, was sent to the Governor’s office, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) as well as the heads of state vaccine workgroups.

The letter notes the recent announcement made by a spokesman for Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) that “[S]tates…will determine when ICE detainees are vaccinated,” and asks for clarity with respect to ultimate responsibility on vaccine distribution in these facilities. 

Hamid Yazdan Panah, Advocacy Director for Immigrant Defense Advocates, underscored the importance of state action. “California has the right and the responsibility to protect the health and safety of individuals in ICE detention in our state. Ensuring that individuals inside these facilities have information and access to the COVID-19 vaccine is part of that responsibility.” 

The California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice reached out to individuals detained inside the Mesa Verde Detention Facility, who shared the following statement. “The vaccine should be available, especially because there are elderly people here and people who are vulnerable. But people want to get it from someone outside, not ICE. We need someone to come in and educate on what the vaccine is, someone that people trust.”

The letter is the second correspondence sent by advocates on the subject, with the first letter having gone unanswered to date.

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