San Bernardino, CA – Residents of Adelanto, the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice,, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and Freedom for Immigrants have sent a Cease and Desist letter to the City of Adelanto to stop them from efforts to expand GEO’s for-profit immigrant prison. The letter informs the City of Adelanto on the accurate interpretation of the City of Adelanto Municipal Code and counteracts the City Manager claims that they are within the law. The letter asks them to confirm in writing that they will not take any action regarding the requested modification.
Specifically, the cease and desist letter outlines the following:
- Section 2.20.090 “[a]ll actions of the Planning Commission are subject to appeal to the City Council in the manner set forth in Title 17 of the Code.”
- Section 17.130.040, subdivision (b) “[t]he decision of the Planning Commission [regarding a conditional use permit] is considered final … unless an appeal has been filed with the City Council.”
- By its terms, therefore, the Municipal Code establishes that an appeal of an action by the Planning Commission transfers the matter to the City Council for resolution, such that the Planning Commission’s initial decision no longer has legal effect.
- the City Council was required to render its own decision regarding the requested modification. Because the City Council failed, by successive 2-2 votes, to take any action regarding the modification at its September 9, 2020 Regular Meeting, the modification has not been approved.
On Wednesday September 9th 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 3:00 am, 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 Adelanto 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.
Efforts to stop further expansion of Adelanto Detention facilities have been underway in order to continue protecting the safety of immigrants communities.