By the Vanguard Staff
LOS ANGELES, CA – ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) will now be prevented from using G4S Secure Solutions, Inc., a contractor, to “arrest people at jail and prisons to funnel them into the deportation pipeline,” according to a settlement agreement with the ACLU Foundation of Northern California and the Asian Americans Advancing Justice–Asian Law Caucus
According to the ACLU and Asian Law Caucus, “ICE agreed to stop the unlawful practice of using private contractors, including G4S, to arrest someone when they are released by CDCR or local law enforcement to ICE custody.
“Immigration officials have willfully flouted the law going back since at least 2016,” the Plaintiffs said, noting that federal law prohibits ICE’s use of outside, private security.
“This is a key legal victory that should put an end to G4S’ illegal practice of arresting people, cruelly ripping them away from their families and shipping them off to out-of-state ICE detention centers ravaged by COVID,” said Vasudha Talla, former Immigrants’ Rights Program Director at the ACLU of Northern California.
Talla added, “The state of California is well aware that G4S has a long history of abusive practices yet continues to voluntarily collaborate and turn people over to the private contractor. We believe today’s settlement is an important step toward dismantling its cooperation with ICE.”
Before this settlement, G4S—part of the world’s largest security corporation—transferred countless immigrant Californians to ICE, said the ACLU and ALC.
The civil rights organizations filed a class-action complaint in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of plaintiff Gabriela Solano in February 2021, seeking an injunction against ICE and immigration officials in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Field offices, “barring them from using any private contractor, including G4S, to make arrests.”
Solano, 49, was a legal permanent resident and survivor of domestic violence, who was given parole after 22 years of incarceration. While her family waited outside the prison, the CDCR transferred Solano to ICE and a G4S contractor. She spent three months detained in Aurora, Colorado, and was deported to Mexico.
“I am hundreds of miles away from all of my family and friends, trying to make my way in a country I have not set foot in since I was two years old,” Solano said, asking for Gov. Newsom to grant her a pardon.
“We need the legislature and the governor to take action now to stop tearing apart immigrant and refugee families,” said Zhao, a litigation staff attorney at Asians Advancing Justice–Asian Law Caucus.
Zhao said Solano’s case is a “prime example of why the California legislature must pass the VISION Act (AB 937)…to “ensure that once people have served their sentences and are ordered released, or have their charges dropped, they are not processed for deportation and instead are able to reunite with their families.
“You have someone like Gabriela Solano who worked so hard to rehabilitate herself, who the state of California itself said presented no risk to society, and yet ICE ripped her away from her family and forcibly returned her to Mexico. It makes absolutely no logical sense, is inhumane and has caused unnecessary suffering,” said Zhao.