Public Witness

Pilgrimage Invitations to Action

Allison Tanner

June 10, 2022

Lakeshore begins our Pilgrimage for a Better Future: From the Heartbreak of Immigrant Detention to Thriving Communities


Lakeshore recently attended a Pilgrimage to learn about and work to end Immigrant Detention in California. The kick-off event was held at San Quentin. Although San Quentin doesn’t detain immigrants, it is one of 34 correctional facilities in California that can directly transfer immigrants to ICE detention upon their release. Currently 70% of people in detention arrive there through this “prison to detention” pipeline that unjustly doubly punishes immigrants. Lakeshore advocates for the VISON Act, AB 937, which would end these transfers.

On our pilgrimage, we heard heartbreaking stories from those in detention and those who continue to carry the trauma of detention with them – stories of medical neglect and abuse, sexual assault, unsanitary conditions, use of toxic chemicals, and retaliatory punishment for those who try to speak out about what they are enduring. We heard from family members and loved ones about the pain of being separated, financial struggles, feelings of hopelessness, and long-term affects of these conditions. Six of the seven remaining detention centers in California are run by for profit companies like Geo and CoreCivic whose goal of maximizing profit incentivizes them to keep costs low at the expense of those in detention and lobby for an ever growing number of detention beds and facilities. Lakeshore supports to end to for profit prisons, jails and detention centers, which was passed into law through AB 32. Unfortunately, the Biden Administration has upheld a Trump era ruling overturning this law. An appeal of this ruling will be heard on June 21.

In response to hearing the heart-break taking place inside immigrant detention centers, I encourage you to read and respond to the following three petitions – each one shared with the Pilgrimage community as a specific way we can respond to what is happening and help bring about change. While ending immigrant detention is our long-term goal – each of these petitions moves us toward that goal for those who continue to endure the harm of detention.

Keep Sithy Home – Sithy is a community leader facing deportation. The U.S. is the only country Sithy has ever known, his family is here and his community needs him.

End Retaliatory & Toxic Caging at Imperial Regional Detention Facility – Demand better conditions and humane treatment inside Imperial

Bring Guillermo Home – Help release Guillermo from detention

Thank you for joining in response to the cries of those who’ve endured detention.

Pastor Allison