Lawmakers and dozens of local organizations said in the recent letter to the Biden administration that Yuba, Otay Mesa Detention Facility and Adelanto Detention Facility under multiple presidential administrations have “functioned in a subpar manner, resulting in repeated violations of ICE standards and excessive waste of federal funds.” Yuba is ICE’s only remaining county jail in California; Otay Mesa and Adelanto are operated by private prison profiteers CoreCivic and GEO Group, respectively.
“The”Free the Yuba 11 Campaign Coalition’ along with Ricardo’s family and his attorney, San Francisco deputy public defender Jennifer Friedman, spearheaded Ricardo’s release campaign, which involved community meetings, vigils and congressional pressure,” attorneys said. “Ricardo also led prison hunger strikes to improve the inhumane conditions to which immigrants were subjected.” The statement questioned whether his release could mean an end to Yuba’s contract. It should – along with an end to immigration detention in Otay Mesa and Adelanto.”
“Otay Mesa has also been publicly convicted of poor conditions and mistreatment of detainees,” lawmakers had written, noting a recent general report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector attempted to confirm the facility at one point during the novel coronavirus pandemic forcing immigrants to sign a liability form protecting the site if they wanted a protective face mask. Lawmakers said Adelanto, meanwhile, was cited by a court for: “severe overcrowding, with up to 118 women sharing three showers, beds inches apart, and filthy conditions that put individuals held in the facility at serious risk of contracting COVID-19.”
Organizations noted that in the case of Yuba, the “has been operating under a court-ordered consent decree since 1979 due to numerous constitutional violations and lack of adequate care.” Yesterday it was time to end ICE’s agreement with Yuba.
“We are delighted to know that Ricardo is back in his community and will finally receive the emergency medical care he was denied for more than 3 years in the Yuba County Jail,” the FreeTheYuba11 campaign said in the statement. Organizers said the campaign is “one of many battles across the country demanding the closure of all immigrant detention centers. This campaign has shown the impact the community legal partnership can have in demonstrating that community-based care is the alternative vision to incarceration. The campaign raised the humanity of each individual, showed us our need for each other and a world without cages where we can all heal.”
Organizers said a scheduled vigil for this weekend is demanding Vasquez Cruz’s release will now be a celebratory event. Proponents said they will also mark the lives of those who died while in immigration detention. “I am happy to be with my family”, Vasquez Cruz said in the statement. “I never stopped fighting to end my deportation, be released and stay here with my family. I have no words to express how I feel, what it feels like to be with my family again. I want to thank everyone who has cooperated to support me and help me fight for my freedom.”