Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) is an emerging non-profit working to end the isolation and abuse of men and women in U.S. immigration detention by building and strengthening community visitation programs. Since the creation of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2003, close to 3 million individuals have passed through ICE detention facilities in a network of over 250 jails and private prisons. Men, women, and children can spend weeks, months, and sometimes years inside of these facilities with little connection to the outside world and limited access to legal, medical, or social resources. While 84% of detained immigrants are unrepresented, many also are denied access to family and community support.
ICE has a contract with the City of Santa Ana to house immigrants at the Santa Ana City Jail. In the last year or so, ICE has created a dedicated protective custody unit for transgender and gay immigrants in detention at the Santa Ana City Jail. This means that transgender and gay immigrants are transferred to the Santa Ana City Jail from across the country, away from their family and loved ones. They remain in immigration detention indefinitely—sometimes for months or even years. Although they are not being held on criminal charges, these individuals—some of whom are HIV-positive—do not receive the medical care they need. ICE subjects transgender women, in particular, to horrific physical, psychological, and sexual violence at this facility and beyond.
CIVIC is launching a campaign to raise awareness about the treatment of immigrants at the Santa Ana City Jail as well as build a community visitation program with the support of Friends of Orange County Detainees to provide sustained one-on-one relationships with people isolated at this facility. In November, CIVIC will be taking one or two groups of individuals on a tour/visit of the Santa Ana City Jail using ICE’s Visitation Directive. The purpose of the tour will be to learn more about the jail and the treatment of immigrants detained there as well as specifically ask about starting a visitation program so that we can provide people in immigration detention with a connection to the outside world.
To participate in this tour, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by October 18th. To learn more about the national visitation movement, visit www.endisolation.org.