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California Faith Leaders Letter to the Yuba County Board of Supervisors

Dear Yuba County Board of Supervisors,

Two hundred and thirty-six faith leaders across California have signed the following letter urging you to end the ICE contract at Yuba County Jail.

This letter was initiated and authored by Rev. Deborah Lee of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer of the Sierra Pacific Synod (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America), and Bishop Sally Dyck, Interim Bishop, of the California-Nevada Conference (The United Methodist Church). Each of these organizations include Yuba County within the regions they serve in. Our letter includes Yuba County residents, 24 sponsoring religious organizations, and signatures of 236 faith leaders from 91 cities around the state, as immigrants who are detained come from many cities across the state.

Our hearts are troubled because we believe the Yuba County Jail’s contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain immigrants violates our sacred principles. We ask you, as members of the Board of Supervisors, to meet with us, faith leaders and families of those who have had loved ones detained at Yuba. We request that this item is added to the Board of Supervisors meeting on April 26.

Sincerely,

Rev. Deborah Lee, Executive Director, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity

Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer, Bishop, Sierra Pacific Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America

Bishop Sally Dyck, Interim Bishop, California-Nevada Annual Conference, The United Methodist Church


Dear Yuba County Board of Supervisors,

We are writing to you as people of faith because our hearts are troubled.  

The holy scriptures of our faith traditions speak clearly to us about loving and welcoming the immigrant.

“When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Lev. 19:33-34)

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”  (Matthew 25:35)

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”  (Hebrews 13:12)

All religious traditions uphold the belief that the lives of all immigrants are inherently valuable and must be treated with dignity and respect.  

Our hearts are troubled because we believe the Yuba County Jail’s contract with Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) to detain immigrants violates this sacred principle.

Our hearts are troubled because of the 40 years of documented history of civil rights abuses and poor conditions at Yuba County Jail. 

Our hearts are troubled because Yuba County Jail is notorious for its abysmal conditions, inadequate medical care, inappropriate use of solitary confinement toward people with medical and mental conditions, and other civil and human rights violations.

Our hearts are troubled that immigrants–whether they are asylum seekers, legal permanent residents, or long-term community members whose family members are citizens–are deprived of their freedom, subjected to medical neglect, and both physical and psychological abuse at Yuba County Jail.  In this op-ed by Carlos Sauceda, he recounts the inhumane conditions and calls Yuba County Jail the worst of twelve different prisons he experienced. His account is far from unique, as this is something we have heard from numerous immigrants detained at Yuba.

Our hearts are troubled that Yuba County Jail receives over $8.66 million dollars per year from ICE. This was even true from October 27, 2021, to December 26, 2021, when there were zero people detained in ICE custody.  It remains true now, when there are three. By contract, Yuba County Jail is paid $24,000 per day for a minimum of 150 beds per day, empty or not.  

Our hearts are troubled by this egregious waste of hard-earned taxpayer dollars that should instead be going toward policies that uplift–not cage–human life and dignity.  We are troubled that there is not a complete and public accounting of how Yuba County spends the funding it receives from ICE.

Our hearts are troubled that Yuba County, a public entity, continues to bear the fiscal and moral liability of financially profiting off of the business of immigration detention.  

Our hearts are troubled that Yuba County maintains the last Intergovernmental Service Agreement with ICE in California. In recent years, all other counties in California, including Sacramento, Contra Costa, and Orange Counties, have terminated their ICE contracts. 

Our hearts are troubled that the contract between Yuba County and ICE, is not expected to end until 2099. 25 members of Congress support the call to terminate the Yuba contract, including the Representative in whose district Yuba County Jail is located. 

Our hearts are troubled because we know that immigration detention is not necessary. We know that individuals’ lives are ruined and families are torn apart needlessly. We know because, as people of faith, we pray for and visit people in detention centers; we help them connect with attorneys; we provide emotional and economic support to family members with loved ones detained; and, when someone is released from detention, we provide much-needed reintegration support such as transportation, food, clothing, and emergency housing. We know they don’t have to be detained like this and that there are other ways to achieve our shared goals of safety, care, and community for all. In California, lawyers, advocates, faith communities, and families have built a robust network of services modeled on safe alternatives to incarcerating immigrants during their months- or years-long immigration proceedings. We know these alternatives work.

Our hearts are troubled. 

We are neighbors concerned about what is happening in our jails to our immigrant neighbors. 

We ask you, as members of the Board of Supervisors, to meet with us, faith leaders, and families, who have had loved ones detained at Yuba.  We urge you to end the contract with ICE.

Sincerely,

Rev. Deborah Lee, Executive Director, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity

Rev. Dr.  Megan Rohrer, Bishop, Sierra Pacific Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America

Bishop Sally Dyck, Interim Bishop, California-Nevada Annual Conference, The United Methodist Church

View the full letter and list of signatories here.

Categories
Events Justice Not Jails (JNJ)

Sacred Prayer Circle: Bringing Hope to Those Impacted by Incarceration

Join the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Families United to End LWOP, The Fair Chance Project, and Lincoln Memorial Congregational Church in a Sacred Circle gathering to uplift those crushed by the criminal legal system.

The event will highlight the stories of formerly incarcerated and incarcerated persons and family members impacted by LWOP (Life Without the Possibility of Parole), especially individuals and family members impacted by California’s insane and unfair “Felony Murder Law.” Also, during the event, we will pray for regional and global peace and unite in song to uplift one another for envisioning beloved community.

Sacred Circle aspires to bring the moral voice and the collective powers of the faith community and directly impacted persons together in prayer to help heal, mend, and transform our present carceral system.

Highlights of Sacred Circle include:

  • Stories &Testimonies
  • Prayers from Faith Leaders
  • Music & Songs
  • Action Steps
  • Lunch will be provided
Categories
Accompaniment

Project Thrive: Floreciendo tus Sueños

Since June 2021, IM4HI has been piloting a project, Project Thrive: Floreciendo tus Sueños,  to support immigrants, asylum seekers, and those formerly detained who often face barriers to employment. IM4HI was one of eight organizations to be awarded a grant through the California Department of Labor’s SEED Initiative to promote the entrepreneurship of immigrants, English language learners, and those who face employment barriers, often due to their immigration status.  The entrepreneurial training development program is designed to help people we are accompanying to start or grow their small businesses as pathways for income for their families and communities.  Seventy-seven people attended a six-week course on small business entrepreneurship learning the major components to successfully launching and running a business.  In February 2022, twenty individuals were selected to receive microgrants to support their businesses.  Some of the awardee businesses include photography, kitchen and house repair, a taco truck, paleta (ice cream) vending, house cleaning,, cosmetic sales, care for mentally disabled adults, automobile servicing and sales, custom jewelry manufacturing, pool servicing and auto transport.  We will be sharing a list soon of these small businesses which you can support with your patronage!

Project Thrive is a program that paves the way for immigrant communities and others who face barriers to flourish and thrive!

Meet the Trainers

Silvia Guardado

Silvia Guardado | Business Development Consultant

An immigrant of El Salvador, Silvia owns an accounting firm. She has more than twenty years of experience helping small business entrepreneurs with financial and compliance needs. She has worked as an instructor with SCORE, helping beginning business owners use QuickBooks, manage cash flow, and thrive. She currently works with the National Latina Business Women Association of the Inland Empire (where she was a founding board member, treasurer, and instructor) to help small business owners obtain loans through the PPP federal loan program.

Delila Vasquez, M.A.

Delila Vasquez, M.A. | Business Development Consultant

An immigrant business woman, Delila has more than thirty years’ experience working with homeless families, immigrants, and incarcerated people in the Inland Empire. She is the founder of Demi Cocina, a small business promoting healthy food choices for Latinx families. She and Silvia co-designed this course curriculum during a Business Academy at the Camara de Comercio Hispana de Pomona and have delivered it seven business courses through SMG Business Services. Delila has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Business Women in the Inland Empire, and was Vice President in 2017.

Registration Information

For more information contact Hilda Cruz:
909.736.0892 | hcruz@im4humanintegrity.org

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