Media advisory for: Saturday, July 14, 11 a.m.

Press Contact: Sarah Lee, slee@im4humanintegrity.org , 858-229-6641 or Lourdes Barraza, 408-508-9362‬

Loved ones of immigrants detained at West County Detention Facility Call for Immediate Reunification of Families

Family members and advocates call for a just and responsible closure of the immigrant detention facility; demand release of all immigrants detained and access to legal representation.

What: Family members of immigrants detained at West County Detention Facility will call for the immediate release of their loved ones and for alternatives to detention, so that they can reunite with their families and have the opportunity to fight their deportation cases with legal representation.

“My five-year-old niece hasn’t seen her mother in a year and cries for her everyday,” said Liliana, who is caring for her two nieces while her sister is detained at the West County Detention Facility. “The eight-month old baby has been separated from her mother since she was just three days old. These children are suffering the most and they need to be with their mother.”

“There are so many unknowns,” said Anna whose husband has been detained for 11 months. “But we hope that this could be an opportunity for him and others to be released on bond or another alternative to detention.”

Families belong together in their communities where they can be safe and thrive, not separated from each other.

When: Saturday, July 14, 2018
10:30 a.m. - Interview availability
11 a.m. - Press conference begins
11:45 pm - Interview availability
Where: West County Detention Facility, 5555 Giant Highway, Richmond, Calif.

Media visuals:  Colorful signs, banners

Who: Half dozen families of detainees, and dozens of faith leaders, advocates and community supporters
Speakers include:
12 year old daughter whose father has been detained for 16 months
Caretaker and family member of young children who have not seen their mother detained at WCDF for a year
Wife of Alexey Kharis, an asylum seeker from Russia detained for 11 months
Family of Raul Lopez who was moved two weeks ago from WCDF to another detention center in Colorado
Immigrants who were previously detained at WCDF but have been released on bond
Rev. Deborah Lee, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity and other faith leaders


Background: On July 10, 2018, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office announced that it is ending its contract with ICE at the West County Detention Facility without any consultation from community members and those who are directly impacted. Family members and immigrant rights advocates are calling for a just and responsible closure — not simply transferring people who are detained to other detention facilities, far from their loved ones with limited to no access to legal representation.

Immigrant rights advocates have set up a community fund to raise money to pay for bonds and assist with family necessities, including rent, transportation to the detention facility, and costs for phone calls with loved ones who are detained. By helping to post bonds for those who cannot otherwise afford it, people who are detained will have the opportunity to reunite with their families and to fight their deportation cases with legal representation.

Link to the West County Detention Facility Community Fund: bit.ly/reunitebayfams