We have gotten horrible news about the Friends of Adelanto Detainees program. I received a short, abrupt email from the AFOD (ICE) Wednesday afternoon, saying that our program is suspended until further notice. We cannot continue to see detainees. They are not taking questions, or giving reasoning. Attempts to try to visit were unsuccessful, and we were threatened with calls to law enforcement for asking for a written statement as to why we were banned. We are all devastated by the suspension, and angry about ICE’s cowardice and lack of communication!
After talking with some others, we found out our sister programs in Orange County have also been cancelled. The little bit that has been gathered is that ICE is scared, and didn’t like the recent media attention visitation programs have been getting (including this Huffington Post article: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3544687).
Some of us have been meeting, emailing, talking and strategizing the last few days trying to develop a plan to move forward and re-gain access to the facility. It will be a public campaign to pressure ICE on all sides, but it can only be effective if we are all a part of it. We are preparing a letter to ICE on behalf of the Adelanto and Orange County Programs, asking for reinstatement, and a few more demands (for our inconvenience) to build a better program for everyone. We will be creating heavy media pressure, including circulating a petition, phone banking, an international op-ed on visitation, and a public family reunification (we are helping a detainee see his brother for the first time in months since his confinement).
While we hope that ICE caves under the pressure, we know how they operate and are fully expecting to escalate with a vigil/rally at the center on Tuesday (8/6) at 2pm. We will need to turn out as many people as possible to be effective! So please, please, please plan on bringing a carload with you!
We will continue to update you all as things unravel, and will be calling on all of you for support in the coming days. Please consider helping end the isolation of detainees through our new Pen Pal Program as well! If you can send a few letters, our friends would surely appreciate it!