Exciting Developments in Building a Just Transition for Adelanto

group of people with banner "Close ICE Detention, Restore Communities"

In 2022, JTA joined a toxic tour of the Adelanto immigrant detention facility organized by the Shut Down Adelanto (SDA) coalition where we learned about the use of a toxic pesticide called HDQ neutral inside the facility and the myriad chronic health conditions afflicting those exposed. According to SDA’s quarterly report from May 2022, “Advocates, the California Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General have documented the long list of human rights abuses at Adelanto, including inadequate health care, sexual assault, use of solitary confinement, and mistreatment.”

As of January 17th, 2024, ICE decided to extend their decision on the Adelanto facility contract to June 19th, 2024. At that point, they can either decide to close the facility or file for another extension through the end of this year. The move to extend the decision comes as a result of a court injunction (Roman v. Wolf) against GEO Group (which operates the Adelanto ICE facility) led by Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ICIJ) and others: GEO hopes to buy more time for the court to potentially lift this court order. The injunction has prevented GEO from transferring people in or out of Adelanto and facilitated the release of 60,000 people around the country. Because of the injunction, the number of immigrants detained at the Adelanto ICE facility has dwindled to six according to Eddie Torres, Policy Coordinator for ICIJ.

Following the article we published last year detailing their work to close the Adelanto ICE facility, ICIJ and other members of SDA have seized upon the opportunity that the injunction presents. SDA found an ally in congresswoman Judy Chu, who is leading a sign on letter which 24 congressional members have endorsed. In June of 2023, the Dignity Not Detention (DND) coalition (which includes ICIJ) passed HEAL, a California budget initiative which “dedicates 5 million dollars to incentivize California localities to divest from immigration detention by providing them funding to invest in new industries and jobs.” What started as a bright idea in a San Diego retreat space blossomed into a just transition incentivization program to support the local workforce through the facility’s closure. In addition, ICIJ continues to advance its Participatory Action Research project, led by Movement Strategy Associate Esmeralda Santos, to document the community’s vision for a just transition. The community group also intends to strengthen collaborations with local officials aimed around backing alternative solutions to the private prison economy.

We can achieve a just transition for Adelanto by pushing for the closure of its ICE facility and supporting SDA’s efforts to cultivate a vibrant, regenerative local economy. If you’d like to support, ICIJ will host virtual Power Hours in March, April, and May to provide education on this issue and walk through 4 actions:

1) Call Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas at 202-456-1111

2) Email Secretary Mayorkas at https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

3) Call representatives who haven’t signed on to Judy Chu’s letter. Find your local representative here.

4) Post about the issue on social media. Stay up to date by following @shutdownadelanto on Instagram.

Join Faith Power Hour–a collaboration between ICIJ and Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity–to advocate for closure and halt the incarceration of those seeking protection and the right to remain with their families.

Event Details:

  • Date: March 22, 2024
  • Time: 12 Noon – Pacific Time (US and Canada)
  • Platform: Zoom Meeting

Please join us in calling on President Biden to release the last six men inside the center and the Secretary of Homeland Security and California Congressmembers to shut down the center. ACT TODAY and stay involved with ICIJ to learn more about how you can help.

Power Hour at 12pm, March 22 on Zoom; Register at bit.ly/PowerHourRSVP

Power Hour at 12pm, March 22 on Zoom; Register at bit.ly/PowerHourRSVP