New Documents Show Officials Hid Risks and Misled a Federal Court as Cases Skyrocketed
BAKERSFIELD — A federal court hearing on Monday will show that deception, incompetency, and outright rejection of medical protocols by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) brought about a horrific outbreak of COVID-19 infections that spread to about 60% of the immigrant population and more than 25% of the staff at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center in Bakersfield.
The hearing, to be conducted virtually by the U.S. District Court, Northern District in San Francisco, will show why the court’s aggressive oversight of the facility should remain in force. The court issued a restraining order in August.
Representing all of those imprisoned in the facility will be legal teams from the American Civil Liberties Union Foundations of Southern and Northern California, the San Francisco Office of the Public Defender, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of San Francisco Bay Area, and the law firms Lakin & Wille LLP and Cooley LLP.
A court filing earlier this week details how ICE as well as the private company operating the facility, GEO Group Inc., mishandled the pandemic. For example, it shows that officials misrepresented conditions to the court and intentionally downplayed risk and symptoms to avoid testing. Those testing delays were a major factor in Mesa Verde being a tinderbox for the spread of the virus — in one combined dorm, 90% of the immigrants were infected. The filing further shows that ICE and GEO ignored the growing threat of staff transmission.
WHAT: Federal Court Hearing on oversight of COVID-19 testing and other pandemic operations at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center.
WHEN: The hearing, to be conducted virtually by the U.S. District Court, Northern District in San Francisco, will begin Monday, November 16, at noon.
WHERE: The Zoom link is: https://cand-uscourts.zoomgov.com/j/1612857657?pwd=WE5Gcm1zS293WU84V0tyd0c2Ulp1UT09
Webinar ID: 161 285 7657 - Password: 547298