SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Immigrant rights advocates such as Pueblo Sin Fronteras and the American Friends Service Committee today targeted 30 different detention centers and/or prisons around California, hanging banners demanding Gov. Gavin Newsom release all inmates and detainees now being held.
They say Newsom has failed to protect those in custody whose lives have been at risk since the COVIOD-19 pandemic began and believe the governor should enact his the legal authority to release people from custody.
Stats show there have been 68 deaths reported in California state prisons due to COVID-19.
In a statement, organizers blamed ICE, in particular, for “depriving tens of thousands of immigrants of liberty each day in detention centers, with rampant medical neglect. In ICE detention, like other forms of incarceration, people are kept closely together by design, making distancing impossible. Across the country, communities are organizing to replace immigration detention with a system of community-based case management. Studies prove this works better than the current harsh approach of detention.”
Newsom is also being blamed for allowing inmates and detainees to be transferred from one facility to another, something some doctors have said puts everyone at risk.
“Governor Newsom has the authority to meet the community’s demands and combat the medical emergency that ICE is causing worldwide in spreading COVID-19 — and the crisis in California’s own prisons. To fail to do is so is to be complicit in this systemic state violence,” according to a statement released by the American Friends Service Committee.
The activists placed banners outside detention centers or hung them on freeway overpasses near jails and prisons calling them “Newsom Death Camps.”
Other banners read: “Release now, health over punishment”; “Free them all”; and “Communities, not cages.”
Newsom did not address today’s demonstrations but in the past has said he is willing to release low-risk inmates from the prison system during the ongoing pandemic.