Zepeda Rivas v. Jennings (Immigration Detention)
On April 20th, 2020, immigrants detained at the Mesa Verde Detention Facility and the Yuba County Jail filed a class action lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), asking the federal district court to order the immediate release of detainees from fundamentally unsafe conditions which endanger their health and lives in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic.
A coalition of legal organizations is representing the plaintiffs, including the ACLU Foundations of Northern California and Southern California, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights (LCCR) of the San Francisco Bay Area, Lakin & Wille LLP, and Cooley LLP.
The lawsuit argues that in the overcrowded facilities, it is impossible for those detained to practice social distancing – which public health officials have recommended to prevent the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19. People in ICE custody are also not given the resources they need to maintain proper hygiene and sanitation.
There are more than 400 individuals detained by ICE at Mesa Verde and Yuba County Jail. While a federal district judge has ordered the release of some individuals in response to legal challenges, this is the first-class action filed on behalf of everyone detained at these two facilities.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.