John Morton, Director Daniel Ragsdale, Deputy Director, Office of Detention Policy and Planning Andrew Lorenzen-Strait

, Deputy Assistant Director Custody Programs and Community Outreach U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 500 12th St., SW Washington, D.C. 20536 David Marin, Acting Field Office Director Robert Naranjo, Assistant Field Office Director Los Angeles Field Office U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 300 North Los Angeles St. #7621 Los Angeles, CA 90012 August 6, 2013 Re: Suspension of Visitation Programs at the Adelanto Detention Center, the James A. Musick Facility, and the Santa Ana City Jail

Dear Sirs: The undersigned organizations and individuals write to express our deep concerns regarding ICE’s recent suspension of community-based visitation programs at three detention facilities in Southern California and the denial of visitation rights to certain volunteers from those programs. In partnership with ICE, these programs have enabled volunteers with local community groups affiliated with Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) to meet with detainees and provide them much-needed contact with the outside world. The suspensions—issued in response to CIVIC’s Co-Executive Director’s published blog post criticizing the mistreatment of LGBT detainees at the Santa Ana City Jail—raise grave concerns that ICE’s actions are retaliation for CIVIC’s First Amendment-protected expression, and create the clear appearance that ICE is attempting to silence its critics and limit the public’s awareness of conditions in immigration detention. For the past several years, ICE has been cooperating with local community groups affiliated with CIVIC (and its predecessor, the National Detention Visitation Network) to establish visitation programs in California and across the nation. The programs enable volunteers from local community groups—comprised of faith-based groups, civic groups and other community members—to visit with detainees who request the opportunity to meet with a volunteer. These programs often depend on ICE to facilitate visitation by gathering the names of detainees who wish to participate, and operate separately from the ordinary procedures for visitation for family, friends or lawyers of detainees. In Southern California, the first community visitation program was originated in 2012 by the Friends of Orange County Detainees at the James A. Musick and Santa Ana City Jail facilities. Another program, organized by the Friends of Adelanto Detainees group, conducted its first official visit on July 15, 2013 at the Adelanto facility, but the program was suspended less than a week and a half later when ICE suspended all visitation programs under the ICE LA Field Office’s jurisdiction.

As legal service providers, community groups and advocates who have regular contact with detainees in these facilities and other detention centers across the country, we have seen firsthand the benefits that the visitation programs can provide. Many detainees are incarcerated far from their loved ones and can suffer from extreme loneliness and depression, which the visitation programs help to alleviate. We know from conversations with ICE officials that they too have seen the value in these programs, which explains why, over the past few years, ICE has worked to facilitate visitation programs at over 20 detention centers across the country and had recently agreed to initiate visitation programs at new facilities, including the Adelanto facility, until its abrupt shift this past week. Indeed, only months ago, ICE’s Office of the Public Advocate devoted space in its anniversary newsletter to an article on the importance of visitation programs. See http://m.ice.gov/doclib/ about/offices/ ero/pdf /voice-4_2-2013.pdf. We understand that ICE announced its decision to suspend these partnerships in response to public statements made by CIVIC’s Co-Executive Director, Christina Fialho, and Facebook posts by members of the visitation groups that were critical of conditions at detention centers. The suspensions were announced less than 48 hours after Ms. Fialho published a blog post on the Huffington Post website, which discussed her concerns about the treatment of LGBT detainees at the Santa Ana City Jail and called for certain reforms by ICE to ensure their humane treatment. In subsequent conversations with ICE officials including Mr. Lorenzen-Strait, ICE has made clear that it suspended these programs because of Ms. Fialho’s public statements. In addition, Mr. Lorenzen-Strait stated that, prior to the suspension decision, ICE had reviewed the Facebook pages for the Friends of Adelanto Detainees group as well as the personal Facebook profiles of several members of the group, and discovered statements critical of ICE and its treatment of detainees. We understand that, in response to these statements made by CIVIC volunteers, ICE has now essentially conditioned the continued existence of the visitation programs on its members giving up their First Amendment rights. ICE requested that these groups remove the purportedly offending statements from their Facebook pages, and has taken the position that any such public statements made on a blog or other public forum constitutes “media” which, it contends, visitation groups are prohibited from engaging in (although, as discussed below, it is clear there is no such prohibition). ICE has stated that it will apply the more stringent visitation standards for “media” members to the CIVIC-affiliated groups if CIVIC’s staff or its partners continue to engage in such public statements. Given that the community visitation programs could not operate if forced to comply with the standards for “media” members, ICE has forced these individuals, who seek to provide a valuable social service to detainees, to choose between visits and their First Amendment rights. Worse still, following the suspension of the visitation program, it appears that ICE has barred any visitation by certain members of the Friends of Adelanto Detainees group. On July 26, two members of the Friends of Adelanto Detainees group attempted to visit with detainees at the facility through the ordinary procedures for visits by family and friends. GEO Group officials (the private contractors who run the facility) informed the visitors that they appeared on a list provided by ICE, with instructions not to permit anyone on the list to enter the facility. Adelanto Warden Neil Clark subsequently confirmed that ICE had in fact prohibited any

visitation for these individuals, and instructed the visitors to vacate the premises (and that he would call the San Bernardino Sheriffs if they did not do so). It therefore appears that ICE has “blacklisted” members of the Friends of Adelanto Detainees from any type of visit with detainees, in clear violation of the ICE detention standards. See 2011 Performance-Based National Detention Standards [Standards] §5.7.I.2.c (providing that visits “shall be permitted” by “non-relatives and friends”). ICE’s actions and statements raise grave First Amendment concerns. Most clearly, it appears that the suspensions of the visitation programs and blacklisting of volunteers are acts of retaliation for CIVIC’s and community members’ exercise of their First Amendment protected right of free expression. Government entities are constitutionally prohibited from punishing a person for the content of her speech, even if that punishment takes the form of revoking a freelygiven privilege or benefit. See, e.g., Hyland v. Wonder, 972 F.2d 1129, 1134-35 (9th Cir. 1992). In fact, courts have held that government entities may violate the First Amendment when, in response to criticism, they terminate volunteer positions or obstruct volunteer access to inmates in correctional facilities. See id. at 1135-36 (holding termination of government volunteer position actionable under the First Amendment, in part because volunteer work “provides an individual the satisfaction of making a contribution, or giving something back, to society”); McCollum v. California, No. C 04–03339 CRB, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58026, at *22-*23 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 8, 2006) (holding plaintiff had stated First Amendment retaliation claim by alleging that correctional facility had punished his speech by hindering his ability to visit inmates as volunteer chaplain). See also Mosely v. Bd. of Educ., 434 F.3d 527, 535 (7th Cir. 2006) (holding that retaliatory acts against volunteer were actionable because “she cannot be muzzled or denied the benefit of participating in public school governance because she engaged in constitutionally protected activity”). ICE’s cooperation with CIVIC has enriched the lives not only of its detainees but also of the volunteers who meet with them, and revoking that privilege cannot, constitutionally, be motivated by CIVIC’s speech. Perhaps even more troubling, ICE’s actions seek to silence its critics and prohibit the public from learning important information about the treatment of people in detention, contrary to ICE’s stated commitment to transparency in its detention programs. The 2011 Detention Standards stress ICE’s support for “the provision of public access to non-classified, non-sensitive and non-confidential information about its operations.” Standards § 7.2.V.A.1. The Detention Standards recognize the importance of allowing detainees, the media, and community members to speak freely, providing that “[a]ccess will not be denied based on the political or editorial viewpoint of the requestor,” and that facilities should not “in any way retaliate against a detainee for lawful communication with a member of the media or a member of the public.” Id. ICE’s actions here betray those commitments, undermining public trust and accountability in the immigration detention system. Finally, ICE cannot justify its suspension of the visitation programs on the ground that Ms. Fialho’s blog posts and volunteers’ Facebook postings require that they comply with the standards for members of the “media.” The Detention Standards governing “media” are intended to provide access to media members seeking to publish stories on immigration detention or interview people in detention, not to limit access for people who already qualify for visitation through other means. See Standards § 7.2.I (explaining that the “purposes” of media provisions

are to “ensures that the public and the media are informed of events within the facility’s areas of responsibility”). The visitation programs are regulated by a different section of the Detention Standards, which provides access for groups such as the CIVIC-affiliated groups. See Standards § 5.7.M. Those Standards nowhere limit volunteers’ ability to discuss their experiences in a blog, their Facebook pages or any other forum, nor is there any provision that classifies people who engage in any public expression as “media” that must comply with the visitation rules for “media.” ICE’s actions have done a disservice to CIVIC, its affiliated groups and members, and the detainees they serve, and also have undermined ICE’s stated commitments to transparency and open access to the detention system. We urge ICE to honor its commitments by immediately reinstating the Friends of Adelanto Detainees and Friends of Orange County Detainees programs. Sincerely,

Michael Kaufman Staff Attorney, ACLU of Southern California On behalf of: ACLU of California American Friends Service Committee Asian Americans Advancing Justice- Asian Law Caucus Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Los Angeles The Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID, United Kingdom) Rev. Lora Brandis, Conejo Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Casa Esperanza Center for Constitutional Rights Communities for a New California Education Fund Holly Cooper Detention Watch Network Dolores Street Community Services Faith In Action Commission of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica Families for Freedom First Friends of NJ & NY Florida Coastal School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic Georgia Detention Watch Rev. Dr. June Goudey, United Church of Christ in Simi Valley Holman United Methodist Church Human Rights Defense Center Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Immigrant Legal Resource Center The Immigration Task Force of the United Methodist Church (Cal-Pac Conference) Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights - Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice

Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace Monmouth County Coalition for Immigrant Rights National Immigrant Justice Center National Immigration Law Center National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild Newark African Commission New Jersey Advocates for Immigrant Detainees New Jersey Forum for Human Rights The New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC Orange County Immigration Coalition Public Counsel Public Law Center Lori Schoenberg Sarah Shourd Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry, CA Women For: Orange County

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