“This is a Life or Death Situation”

On June 10, NBC News published a news story about a letter that 70 people in detained in La Palma Correctional Center signed, blowing the whistle on the conditions they are facing inside the facility.

“This place is a concentration camp, where we can only wait for the worst,” reads one sentence of the letter.

“We’re begging you for help because this is a life or death situation,” reads another.

People detained in La Palma also say they have been forced to clean the COVID-infected facility, eat rotten food, and do not have the ability to practice social distancing or access to proper PPE. One of our clients even sent us their meals from one day, food that they were forced to eat three times a day for several weeks.

This week, we also filed our second lawsuit, alongside the ACLU, the ACLU of Arizona, and Perkins Coie, asking a federal court order the immediate release of 13 people who are at high risk for severe illness or death if they contract COVID-19. The same coalition filed a previous lawsuit in April, in which a federal judge found that conditions in detention centers “pose an objectively unreasonable risk of transmission of COVID-19 and a resulting substantial risk of seriously harm to Petitioner’s health and ultimate safety.”

However, people detained in these facilities are still at severe risk because the facilities’ plans are both insufficient and not being effectively implemented. We know that release from detention is the only option to protect the health and safety of detained migrants. We have filed humanitarian parole requests for each of the petitioners, and ICE has the discretion to release them at any time, but has yet to do so.

We will continue to fight for our clients’ release from immigration detention and to protect their fundamental human rights and dignity every way we know how. Thank you for standing with us and our clients.