Mesa Verde detention center must keep testing detainees for COVID, over ICE’s objections

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Bob Egelko reported in the San Francisco Chronicle on the latest development in an ongoing joint class action lawsuit against I.C.E. regarding its response to the COVID-19 pandemic at two California immigrant detention facilities. On December 3, 2020, Federal Judge Vincent Chhabria called the conduct of officials at I.C.E. and GEO Group – the private corporation which operates the Mesa Verde facility in Bakersfield – “appalling.” They lied and avoided protections against COVID-19. Judge Chhabria noted that they “cannot be trusted” and ordered continued oversight, weekly testing, reporting, and other safety measures at Mesa Verde.

“there is no safe way for ICE to detain people during a pandemic and no justification for doing so.” – San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju

The San Francisco Public Defender’s Office is working in partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern and Southern California, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, Lakin & Wille LLP, and Cooley, LLP, in the ongoing Zepeda Rivas lawsuit.

For the press bulletin and to read the judge’s order, please visit our media page.

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