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BREAKING: “Nothing short of criminal:” COVID Outbreak Confirmed at Adelanto Detention Facility 

The Shut Down Adelanto Coalition issues warning signs of genocide, calls on the release of all individuals detained and the complete disestablishment of the Adelanto Detention Facility. 

San Bernardino, CA — On Wednesday afternoon, ICE confirmed a COVID-19 outbreak currently underway in Adelanto Detention Facility.  The government confirmed this afternoon in an email to the Hernandez Roman legal team that there is a COVID-19 outbreak at Adelanto among the general population at Adelanto.

Since March of 2020 and the beginning of lockdown orders due to the pandemic, the Shut Down Coalition has called on the release of all immigrants being held in the Adelanto Detention Facility. The cruel, inhumane and torturous conditions have increased and direct testimonies from immigrants confined continue to horrify their families and attorneys.

As of this Wednesday afternoon, there are 38 confirmed positive cases and 42 people pending results. The ACLU of Southern California recently filed a TRO seeking an emergency status conference and immediate rapid testing to determine the true extent of the outbreak.

The blatant disregard for the lives of immigrants confined in Adelanto Detention Facility can only be described as torture, inhumane and violent. Immigrants detained in these facilities are being subjected to cruel punishment and inhuman treatment for the mere act of seeking to migrate. Detention centers are a hotbed of infection and deadly; more than 5,000 people in ICE custody have tested positive for COVID-19 since February and 19 people have lost their lives in 2020 FY, making it the deadliest year in history. Thousands of medical professionals and advocates have been sounding the alarm and demanding the release of everyone in immigrant detention.

“I have spoken with clients who told me that they complained to medical staff of cough, chills, sore throat, chest pain, weakness, and other symptoms,” said Margaret Hellerstein, an attorney with the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project. “My clients were told that their illness was the result of poor air quality and that they should gargle with salt. They were finally tested on Tuesday after suffering for days,” she said.

Marcela Hernandez, Organizer with Detention Watch Network:

“Despite countless calls to free people from detention amid the rising rates of COVID-19 infection by thousands of professionals and advocates, ICE has done nothing Now, more than ever, we see the importance of ending this arbitrary and inhumane system of detention.”

Immigrant Defenders Law Center Director of Litigation and Advocacy Munmeeth Soni:

“This outbreak is further proof that ICE and the Trump Administration have zero regard for human life. Whether forcibly removing women’s uteruses or refusing medical treatment to those with COVID-19, no detainee is safe in immigration custody. What ICE is doing to detainees is nothing short of criminal. We must put an end to ICE and end immigration detention once and for all.”

Attorneys have been denied access to confidential calls with their clients in locked-down dorms, while GEO staff refuse to provide any information as to which dorms are on lockdown, how many individuals are affected, and what is being done to protect them.

The Shut Down Adelanto Coalition calls on the full and immediate release of all individuals currently being detained in Adelanto Detention Facility and urges Congress to cut funding to ICE and CBP and instead redirect critical resources to supporting public health efforts in our community.

The Shut Down Adelanto Coalition consists of Inland Empire Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, Freedom for Immigrants, Detention Watch Network, Never Again Action – Los Angeles, Immigrant Defenders Law Center, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, Nikkei Progressives and many others.