For Immediate Release
Sheriff Don Barnes decision comes after years of pressure from human and immigrant rights organizations over conditions of detention and the continuing change in political landscape in the county.
Orange County, CA – On Wednesday March 27th, 2019, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes announced through a press statement his decision to withdraw from the county’s ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) contract. Don Barnes sent a letter to ICE to initiate the termination of the contract at the James A. Musick facility. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department currently detains nearly 1,000 community members jointly at the Theo Lacy and James A. Musick facilities. If ICE accepts the letter, they will have 120 days to force relocate the immigrant community out of Orange County. The guise that the Sheriff’s Department is using to make its decision is to provide additional jail based services for people with mental health needs. The county’s immigrant jails have been scathed in recent years with reports of inhumane conditions and treatment of the people under the custody of the OC Sheriff’s Department.
The OCSD has a track record of being against the immigrant community. While the Sheriff is signaling they are no longer interested in operating detention centers in Orange County, Sheriff Don Barnes has signaled they intend to work with ICE to the greatest extent of state law. Resilience OC fundamentally disagrees with Don Barnes continuing to conspire with ICE to detain and transfer anyone who comes in contact with local law enforcement. Resilience OC, in collaboration with the Orange County Rapid Response Network, will continue to work to address the needs of the community members being potentially relocated.
Resilience OC fundamentally disagrees with the OCSD’s decision to be in the business of administering and managing mental health service services for a vulnerable population. The OCSD has a record of violence and neglect towards those under their supervision as reported by the CA Attorney General & the US Department of Health and Human Services Office Inspector General. Mental health funding from the state and county should not be going towards agencies that already criminalize and incarcerate vulnerable populations. Alternatively, we call for community-based organizations and community-based health services providers to be prioritized to receive state and county funding for OC residents who need mental health services.