CREEC and 13 Others Send COVID-19 Letter in Support of Immigrants in Detention in Adelanto, CA

Today CREEC and 13 other organizations sent this letter to DHS, ICE and Geo Group officials at the Adelanto Detention Facility in California (where some Fraihat plaintiffs are located). You’ll find the complete list of participating organizations in the signature section of this letter.  All footnotes and links to signatory organizations are at the end of the letter. March 13, 2020  Re: Requesting Parole for COVID-19 Vulnerable Adelanto Detainees Dear Field Officers David Marin, Gabriel Valdez, Art Cortez, and Warden James Janecka: We write on behalf of immigrant legal service providers in Southern California to voice our concern about the urgent humanitarian crisis that COVID-19 presents for our clients and the overall detainee population Adelanto Detention Facility (“ADF”). For the foregoing reasons, we request, among other things, that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) immediately grant humanitarian parole to all vulnerable persons in detention, eventually evaluate all ADF detainees for humanitarian parole, and inform detainees of their right to seek humanitarian release. To that end, we request a meeting with you no later than Thursday, March 19, 2020, to discuss our concerns. The World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic, yet ICE has neither announced nor published concrete plans or protocols for screening, mitigating, and treating the virus at ADF. This silence is especially troublesome considering the heightened risk of uncontrolled transmission among persons living in close quarters, DHS’ own Inspector General and the State of California repeatedly condemning the substandard medical conditions at ADF, and DHS’ March 10, 2020, confirmation to the LA Times that four detainees were under observation for infection.1 As you know, ADF has struggled...

Immigrant Advocacy Groups File Civil Rights Complaint Against Constitutional & Disability Rights Violations

Freedom for Immigrants (FFI), Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Louisiana Advocates for Immigrants in Detention, and Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC) have filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) on behalf of Mr. Anderson Avisai Gutierrez, a 27-year-old Guatemalan asylum seeker detained at the LaSalle Detention Facility in Jena, Louisiana. Despite an attempt to end his own life and severe mental health disabilities, Mr. Gutierrez has been placed in solitary confinement for over eight months, where his mental health has further deteriorated. His continued confinement is in violation of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) own standards, his constitutional rights, and disability law. “Sometimes you miss taking a shower. You don’t eat, because suddenly they forget about you. They forget to wash your clothes. The light is on day and night. 24 hours a day, every day. You are locked up like an animal on exhibition, since everyone that passes can see you,” wrote Gutierrez, in a letter about his time in solitary confinement. “[The prison] is missing a lot of things for the wellness of human beings.”   “Throughout our weeks of visitation, Mr. Gutierrez has always been courteous and easily engaged. However, he also has appeared to me to be extremely distressed with his prolonged detention and filled with such despair. He has been in detention now for 13 months, eight of them in solitary confinement,” said Jennifer Savage, a volunteer with Louisiana Advocates for Immigrants in Detention. “He has not received the mental health follow-up he has required.”   “Prolonged solitary confinement is tantamount...

Landmark Agreements Establish New Model for Online Accessibility in Higher Education and Business

PRESS RELEASE Settlement with MIT Follows Similar Agreement with Harvard University to Caption Online Content Agreements Represent the Most Comprehensive Set of Online Accessibility Requirements BOSTON—The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) announced today a landmark settlement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that institutes a series of new guidelines to make the university’s website and online resources accessible for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. The settlement follows a similar agreement with Harvard University in November 2019, which together represent the most comprehensive set of online accessibility requirements in higher education and provide a new model for ensuring worldwide online and digital accessibility in academia and business for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. MIT, one of the most celebrated academic research institutes in the world, has agreed to provide industry standard captioning for publicly-available online content, including video and audio content posted on MIT.edu as well as MIT’s YouTube, Vimeo, and Soundcloud pages, certain live-streaming events and online courses such as Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), MITx and MIT OpenCourseWare. The terms of the settlement are included within a consent decree, which can be enforced by the court. The court must approve the consent decree before it may become effective. MIT must also implement a public process to manage these requests. MIT is also required to submit reports every six months beginning in June 2020 to NAD and the Disability Law Center with information about the number of requests received, among other details. This settlement was reached four years after this litigation began in 2015, when it was filed in the U.S....

Spreading the Word: Deaf Awareness Day at the Denver Zoo and the DeafNation Expo in Nashville, TN

CREEC recently had the privilege of joining the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community at two marquee events:  Deaf Awareness Day at the Denver Zoo in Colorado and the DeafNation Expo in Nashville, TN. All together more than 2,400 people attended these two signature events. Deaf Awareness Day at the Denver Zoo – September 22, 2019 Kris Shipley of Sprint Accessibility remarked about this year’s day at the Zoo, “Relay Colorado and Sprint Accessibility sponsored and hosted Deaf Awareness Day at the Denver Zoo on September 22, 2019 to support Deaf Awareness Month. It was a smashing hit! There were over 1,000 attendees including all ages of deaf, hard of hearing and hearing guests from the Denver metro area, Colorado Springs and northern Colorado. This was a good way to bring the community together and celebrate Deaf Awareness Month.” Co-Executive Director Amy Robertson represented CREEC at Deaf Awareness Day at the Denver Zoo and reported, “It was great to see old friends and meet new people in the Deaf community.  It also gave us a chance to introduce our Fast Advocacy for Communication (FAC) program, which folks seemed interested in.”  CREEC looks forward to participating in future Deaf Awareness Days. DeafNation Expo Nashville, TN – October 12, 2019 Director of CREEC’s Accessibility Project, Martie Lafferty joined 74 vendors and more than 1,400 participants at Nashville’s DeafNation Expo on Saturday October 12.  Both vendors and participants came from multiple states including TN, KY, IN, GA, NC, AL, and MS.  Martie and a sign language interpreter staffed CREEC’s booth where many participants stopped by to talk and pick up flyers, magnets,...

Making Dreams Reality

Remarks delivered at CREEC’s 2019 Annual Event by Challenging Discrimination award recipient, César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández Written by César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández What an immense honor it is to be recognized in this way. I am humbled to celebrate the work that CREEC does and to remember the people who they advocate alongside. Among CREEC’s clients are people like Edelberto García Guerrero, who lives at the Aurora immigration prison, while his wife and children remain in Utah, and Stephenson Teneng, an asylum seeker who was surrounded by barbed wire in the California desert while ICE claimed he was not being punished. To CREEC, their stories are worth telling because they should not be happening. We live in a moment in which the law is being subverted and traditions shoved aside in the service of suffering. In various parts of the world, including the United States, the lived reality of migration has been turned upside down by the cruelty of the power of policing pressed on law. In the United States, we see the inhumanity of the prison’s steel doors and around-the-clock surveillance rip through conversations about immigration law and policy. Despite the intensity of migration policing, advocates like CREEC are finding inspiration in numbers and strength in the creative potential of imagination. As a teacher, a lawyer, and a writer, to be in their company is to be reminded that words can wound or words can salve, but whatever effect they have, words always matter. The freedom-dreaming intellectual bell hooks reminds us that “intellectual work is a necessary part of liberation struggle.” Indeed, it must be because in dreams...