Public Witness

ICE Transfers Must End

Allison Tanner

August 28, 2020

21 You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. 22 You shall not abuse any widow or orphan. 23 If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry; — Exodus 22:21-23

From January to May of 2020, even in the midst of a global pandemic, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation transferred 575 people from prisons and jails to ICE detention centers. 575 people whom our criminal justice system deemed ready to to be released to their families and communities, only to be doubly punished because of their immigration status. People like Charles Joseph, who upon release from an excessive 12 years in prison had to endure another 11 months in detention. People like Oscar, who, having served a two month jail sentence, spent another four years imprisoned in ICE detention. Even in the midst of mass COVID outbreaks in prisons and detention centers, which have led to the deaths of over 75 incarcerated individuals in California, transfers are still taking place. Lately, we’ve heard stories of ICE transferring people out-of-state, further separating them from family and community.

This week, I was on another call with Governor Newsom’s staff speaking about the need to suspend these unjust transfers during the pandemic, and ultimately end this practice entirely. I spoke as Lakeshore’s Pastor of Public Witness and on behalf of the Alliance of Baptists as their Justice Advocacy Representative – West. I encourage you to join me in making this demand in two ways. Please call/email Governor Newsom today and urge him to use his power to stop transfers. Second, please call Governor Newsom (can be same call!) and CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz to demand that Tien Pham and Patti Waller not be transferred to ICE. Tien and Patti are both set to be released from prison in the near future and have faith community who are eager to receive them. You can learn about their stories here.

Thank you for your help in amplifying these urgent messages, standing with our immigrant brothers and sisters, and working to end the injustices of ICE transfers.

Praying for peace and working for justice,

Pastor Allison

Call Script for Gov. Gavin Newsom (916) 445-2841 and Ralph Diaz, Secretary of CDCR (916) 324-7308

My name is ____ and I represent ____ (organization, or city/county where you live). I am calling in strong support of Tien Pham #V50481 held at San Quentin State Prison and Patricia Waller #X16401 held at Central California Women’s Facility. Both individuals have been found suitable for parole and instead of looking forward to being in the safety of their families and community, they will be transferred to ICE during a global pandemic. Tien Pham is a refugee from Vietnam. After fleeing his war-torn country, he spent years in a refugee camp and resettled into San Jose, CA. Patricia Waller is an immigrant from Belize and a survivor of domestic violence, having to go through an abusive relationship that ultimately led to the circumstances of her incarceration. Transferring Tien and Patricia to ICE where they will face deportation only continues to punish criminalized refugees and immigrants. Given the rising rates of COVID-19 in prisons and ICE detention, continuing to transfer people eligible for release, like Tien and Patricia, endangers lives and worsens the public health situation. Will Governor Newsom/Secretary Diaz use his authority to free Tien and Patricia and stop their deportation?