Mayor Garcetti, human rights first visit Detainees at Adelanto Immigration Detention Facility

LOS ANGELES —  Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti yesterday toured the Adelanto ICE Processing Center as part of a delegation that included detention experts, philanthropic leaders, attorneys, and mental health professionals organized in collaboration with Human Rights First.

The visit included conversations with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, facility staff, and individuals detained at Adelanto, which currently holds roughly 1,700 detainees, almost half of them seeking asylum in the United States. The delegation highlighted the need for greater transparency at all ICE facilities; increased access to these centers for elected officials at every level of government; increased pro bono legal representation for asylum seekers and immigrants, and improved care and services for the people housed there.

“America is a nation of laws and a country of compassion, and we betray our highest ideals when we turn our backs on families fleeing violence and direct threats to their lives,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Many of the detainees at Adelanto have family in Los Angeles, who deserve to know whether their loved ones are receiving the care, attention, and legal counsel they deserve.”

“Many of the brave men and women at Adelanto are being incarcerated simply for seeking refuge in the United States," said Human Rights First’s Robyn Barnard, who led yesterday's tour of the detention facility. “Over the past year, the Trump Administration has used prolonged detention to punish refugees fleeing violence and persecution. Because these individuals are being unjustly held, they are unable to secure legal representation, and are forced to navigate our complex immigration system alone. This is not only inhumane, it is unnecessary. There are proven successful and cost-effective alternatives to detention.”

The tour follows an October 2018 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general report that detailed numerous health and safety risks at the Adelanto facility — including inadequate medical care and conditions that violated ICE’s own national detention standards. Nevertheless, DHS is spending a rapidly increasing amount on immigration detention and enforcement, with its appropriated budget jumping from $3.2 billion in fiscal year 2016 to $4.1 billion in fiscal year 2018.

During the visit, the delegation met with detainees from all over the world, and heard their stories of coming to the United States and their descriptions of the conditions inside the facility. Human Rights First is developing an analysis and will be releasing a set of recommendations in the near future. To learn more about Human Rights First, click here.

In 2017, the City of Los Angeles launched the L.A. Justice Fund — a public-private partnership created to assist people who are facing deportation and cannot afford legal assistance in Los Angeles. To learn more about the Los Angeles Justice Fund, click here.