Split 2-2 Vote likely kills GEO’s Expansion effort in Adelanto, CA.

San Bernardino, CA – On Wednesday the City of Adelanto held a City Council meeting that lasted over 8 hours,  listening to public comment and testimony regarding the appeal of the conditional use permit that would allow an expansion of the Adelanto Detention Facility by 750 beds.
At nearly 3:00am, the city council had a split 2-2 vote of which the city then announced “no-action” on the item. However, moments later the City Attorney stated a potential approval for the expansion arguing that the planning commission vote stands. Immigrant rights activists and opponents of the expansion disagreed as an appeal requires a majority vote by the City Council – the highest elected body in the City of Adelanto.
Leading up to the meeting, the Shut Down Adela to Coalition generated over 1,600 emails in opposition to the Adelanto GEO Expansion and had close to 60 public comments on last night’s council call. Further legal analysis will be considered and provided as available.
 
The following statements were issued in response:
 
“We’d like to thank Councilmember Stevonna Evans and Councilmember Gerardo Hernandez for their bold and courageous vote in favor of the appeal by Adelanto Residents and immigrant rights organizations.  This expansion  would be detrimental to the health and well being of Adelanto residents, it’s important to be on the right side of history. GEO group is morally corrupt and has peddled influence in our region for far too long – we will not allow them to get away with the continual mistreatment of immigrants who are in their custody. They have been met with strong opposition from Adelanto residents and advocates from across the country. Our fight is far from over.”
 
Pat Foley, San Bernardino Resident, Big Bear Indivisible:
“I am hopeful that the city council of Adelanto will decide that the time of caging people should be in the past and that community solutions are the future so that Adelanto can truly be a city of unlimited possibilities”
Gaby Hernandez, Executive Director at the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition:
“We are incredibly inspired by all of the community members who showed up last night against GEO and in support of the appeal to stop the expansion of a deadly immigrant prison that has already taken the lives of way too many. Our community deserves care, not more cages.”
 
Paula Kahn, Freedom For Immigrants:
“The city of Adelanto deserves better than to be manipulated into predatory contracts with the private prison industry. We must demand state and federal governments to invest in rural economies to build resilience against environmental catastrophes and public health crises. We need state and federal funding to invest in the education of the residents of rural regions so that they develop skills to offer innovative solutions to the challenges of our time.” 
 
Marcela Hernandez, Organizer, Detention Watch Network
Adelanto residents deserve economic opportunities and jobs that are not dependent on the suffering of others. Last night, community members spoke loud and clear against an expansion of the Adelanto Detention Center, amplifying the record of death and abuse inside the facility which has been bravely exposed by people organizing and resisting in detention for years. Rejection of the expansion must be the first step to shut down the facility permanently, as Adelanto residents are resolute in their call for community investment, not cages.”
 
Shannon Camacho, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights
“For years, community members, detained immigrants and their families, as well as advocates from all across California & the U.S. have been speaking out against the horrors, deaths of immigrants, and corrupt dealings of the GEO Group and immigration detention centers like Adelanto,” said Shannon Camacho, raids response coordinator for CHIRLA. “These are truths that have only gotten worse with the COVID-19 pandemic. The GEO Group and ICE have done everything in their power to keep private immigration prisons alive in CA. They have sidestepped state law, AB 32, SB29, and the Brown Act. The residents of Adelanto and the High Desert have spoken, loud and clear. And this vote shows that when communities speak, elected officials cannot ignore them, at least not forever. We see this vote as a chance to keep GEO’s corruption out of our community. If a seven-hour council meeting did not stop us, nothing will.”
 
Joyce Noche, Director of Legal Services, Immigrant Defenders Law Center
“Rather than a City with Unlimited Possibilities, Adelanto has been the source of unlimited pain and torture for our clients. Last night the community spoke with tears in our eyes because we speak for the thousands imprisoned at ADF who fear for their lives every day. We look to Adelanto City Councilmembers to invest in the possibilities that come when you save lives, protect and reunite families and to begin to end the suffering that this facility has caused.”
 
Hilda Cruz, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
“As an organizer who has been involved on the issue of immigrant detention in Adelanto for 8 years, I could not help but feel proud that since my first visit in December 2012, things have definitely changed.  The people of CA have passed legislation against for-profit immigrant detention facilities and people across the state are holding cities accountable. Just we witnessed yesterday.”
 

June Hibino & Joy Yamaguchi – co-chairs Nikkei Progressives, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles:

“Japanese Americans have our own history of incarceration when, during World War II, 120,000 of us were sent to U.S. concentration camps. All people, regardless of status, deserve to be treated humanely.  We did nothing wrong then, just like those suffering in GEO’s Adelanto Detention Center have done nothing wrong — unless you call trying to protect your family from poverty and violence a crime. Since then, we have vowed to do all we can to prevent concentration camps from happening again. We oppose the expansion of Adelanto and say “No More detention centers!”

 

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Contact: Armando Carmona, 951-966-6500, media@ic4ij.org

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