CIVIC would like to chart out a common understanding with ICE so that we can continue towork together to better the lives of people in immigration detention. In order to do so, we haveoutlined what we understand so far from our conversation with Mr. Lorenzen-Strait on Wednesday,July 31. On Friday, July 26, CIVIC’s co-executive director Christina Fialho received an email fromMichael P. Reid, Senior Advisor of Custody Programs and Community Outreach at ICE, stating thefollowing:
“Christina: I am emailing on behalf of Andrew Lorenzen-Strait. We would like to discussrecent media attention regarding CIVIC's visitation programs in southern California. Would you havetime next week for a conference call Tuesday or Wednesday after 4:00 (ET)? Thank you. Mike.”
On the July 31
conversation with Mr. Lorenzen-Strait, Christina Fialho, Christina Mansfield (co-executive director of CIVIC), Jan Meslin, and Victoria Mena were in attendance. The following iswhat CIVIC understood from the conversation:To begin, both programs were given no explanation for the suspension, but after thephone call with Mr. Lorenzen-Strait on July 31st, it seems that the suspension is a result of recent media exposure garnered by the groups and especially CIVIC’s co-executive director Christina Fialho’s blog on the Huffington Post. Mr. Lorenzen-Strait first explained that ICEwould like “a heads up that we are going to be issuing an article in the Huffington Post.” Ms.Fialho explained that she had given Mr. Lorenzen-Strait a heads up about the content of her blog, Who Is Overseeing Immigration Detention? (posted on July 22), when she met with himat UC Irvine where they discussed the various concerns volunteer visitors had about thetreatment of gay and transgender immigrants detained at the Santa Ana City Jail. She alsoexplained in that meeting at UC Irvine that she hoped the training at the Santa Ana City Jailwould comply with the eight hours of training dictated in ICE’s contract with the Santa AnaCity Jail.During the phone conversation on July 31
, Mr. Lorenzen-Strait went on to explainthat he does not want to see “blogs about petitions and hunger strikes.” This referred toanother blog Ms. Fialho wrote about a Vietnam veteran in immigration detention at the EloyDetention Center in Arizona who had gone on a hunger strike to protest his prolongeddetention (Detained U.S. Veteran on Hunger Strike at Eloy Detention Center, posted July 8)and the Change.org petition CIVIC had initiated for this veteran.Mr. Lorenzen-Strait further explained that Ms. Fialho’s blogging on the HuffingtonPost transformed her into a “media representative” as defined by Standard 7.2 of ICE’s 2011PBNDS. He further explained that if Ms. Fialho wanted to continue to blog for the HuffingtonPost, she would have to give ICE notice before she posts a blog and she and any visitationprogram volunteers would be considered “media representatives” moving forward.In order to chart out a pathway forward for ICE and CIVIC to continue workingtogether, Ms. Fialho asked if Mr. Lorenzen-Strait could provide clarity as to why the visitationprogram at Adelanto had been suspended when the articles written did not mention Adelanto. Mr. Lorenzen-Strait explained that he was not willing to talk about specificinstances because there was not one action, but rather a serious of issues that compoundedit and produced an erosion of trust and rapport at the
level. It is important to mentionhere that the visitation program at Adelanto had only been in operation for one week and ahalf before it was suspended. It also is important to mention that CIVIC’s contact at the Los Angeles Field Office, who has always been very supportive and even has gone out of hisway to assist the program, shared that this directive to suspend the programs came fromICE’s
office. Mr. Lorenzen-Strait continued to explain that the suspensions are dueto a number of issues in other states. Ms. Fialho tried to clarify the issues as it was not clear that these other issues were related to CIVIC visitation programs, but Mr. Lorenzen-Straitwas not willing to discuss these specific issues.