November 6, 2018

THE rIGHT VS THE CONSTITUTION:

ICE moves to silence detention center volunteer visitors (KATE MORRISSEY, NOV 06, 2018, LA Times)

Immigration officials have stopped allowing a volunteer group to visit people at Otay Mesa Detention Center unless its members agreed not to talk with the media or other groups about conditions inside.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement said members of Souls Offering Loving and Compassionate Ears must sign the Volunteer Code of Ethics to be in compliance with the agency's detention standards. The group so far has refused, arguing that detention standards don't require them to sign away their 1st Amendment rights in order to visit detainees.

"I think they're circling the wagons to stop people from knowing what's going on inside," said SOLACE volunteer Steve Gelb of Mission Valley. "It gives ICE more impunity."

Since 2012, SOLACE volunteers have made more than 1,450 visits to at least 800 immigrants at Otay Mesa. They try to give detainees who don't have anyone to visit them a feeling of humanity, emotional support and hope.

"Without SOLACE, people who are detained at Otay have very little way to communicate with the outside world," said Angela Fujii, who coordinates the program through the First Unitarian Universalist Church. "It's a very vulnerable population that we know is now suffering and being neglected."

Posted by at November 6, 2018 4:10 AM

  

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