For Immediate Release // Excuse Cross Postings
August 31, 2016
Contact: Armando Carmona, email@example.com, (323) 250-3018
Jailed Immigrants at For-Profit Detention Center Serenaded as California Governor Considers Legislation to Ban Private Prisons
Grammy Award winning La Santa Cecilia, Los Jornaleros del Norte, and special guests “CHANT DOWN THE WALLS” of Adelanto Detention Center
Adelanto, California—The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) along with the families of Xochitl Hernandez and Alvaro Benitez, and supporters of Calvin Carter, held a demonstration, which included a public concert, at the Southern California Adelanto Detention Center on Wednesday August 31st. The demonstration sought to bring attention to the immorality of jailing immigrants for a profit and elevate the voices of those directly impacted by U.S. immigration policy.
The Adelanto Facility is designed strictly for immigrants and has a long history of extreme medical abuses and mis of detainees, including the death of a Salvadoran immigrant. Detained immigrants have repeatedly engaged in hunger strikes to demand improved medical attention, better food, and humane . The facility is run by the GEO group, a private company that has federal contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Throughout the evening, supporters called for the immediate release of longtime L.A. resident Xochitl Hernandez as the #FreeAbuelaXochitl campaign continues to gain national attention. Her family called her imprisonment “outrageous,” as it is based on racially biased accusations of “gang affiliation” tied to the neighborhood she lived in. Xochitl has now been held for over 6 months at Adelanto on a $60,000 bond.
“It is outrageous that ICE is doubling down on their false and unsubstantiated claims about Xochitl even though the LAPD has already acknowledged that she should not be a priority for deportation and they have no record of her having any gang involvement,” said Emi MacLean, Staff Attorney for NDLON. “Rather than compounding this tragedy, ICE should accept its error and release her to go back to her family.”
Supporters also highlighted the case of Calvin Carter, a Jamaican gay man imprisoned in Adelanto. Calvin has five U.S. citizen children and has already been found to have a reasonable fear of returning to Jamaica. But he remains imprisoned because of his family’s inability to pay a $10,000 bond. A crowdrise fundraiser is raising money for Calvin’s release.
As part of the Chant Down the Walls concert series, Grammy award-winning La Santa Cecilia and day laborer band Los Jornaleros del Norte highlighted through music the injustices related to the of immigrants and demonstrated solidarity with those incarcerated.
“Immigration is beyond political; it is a moral issue. We seek to humanize and explain what happens when a family is separated—to show the effects of the unjust imprisonment of immigrant workers,” said Loyda Alvarado, vocalist with Los Jornaleros del Norte.
“Our band was founded after an immigration raid which deeply affected many people,” said Omar Leon, vocalist and accordionist with Los Jornaleros del Norte. “Song can build consciousness and motivate people to fight for what is just” he concluded.
Alvaro Benitez, of Huntington Beach, called for the closure of his case and the end to the U.S. mass deportation policy. “ICE wanted to deport me the day before the Supreme Court’s DAPA decision. But with the support of my community, we were able to literally stop the bus and have them return me to my family,” said Alvaro Benitez, the father of four U.S. citizen children who narrowly escaped deportation in June. “Now I am here to call on ICE to release Xochitl, Calvin and the others in Adelanto so that they too can be reunited with their families.”