EBSC Statement on COVID-19

March 17, 2020

Contact:
Sister Maureen Duignan
Executive Director
sistermaureen@eastbaysanctuary.org

With the rapid escalation of COVID-19, we at EBSC remain committed to doing everything we can to support our immigrant community members who need our help.

EBSC is continuing to provide services. While our offices have closed due to the Bay Area-wide “shelter in place” policy, we are continuing to support our clients by phone, providing up-to-date information about their legal cases and social support services.

We are outraged by continuing attacks on immigrant communities. Even as California ramps up efforts of social distancing, ICE agents continue to conduct raids and arrests. This is appalling and must be stopped.

We join with allies to demand a release of immigrants in detention who are at great risk during normal times, let alone during a pandemic. Immigration detention conditions are overcrowded and unsanitary. Detainees’ lives are in danger. Please send an email to ICE here through the RAICES campaign to demand the release of detained families and other immigrants in detention who are at unacceptable levels of risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We stand in solidarity with migrants who are forced to remain in Mexico. Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy – recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court – is a lethal policy that forces thousands of vulnerable people into dangerous conditions.

We are grateful to be connected to our amazing and resilient community of clients and supporters – and we need each other more than ever.

How You Can Help:

  • Make a donation to keep EBSC’s virtual legal and social services going during the Coronavirus outbreak. We need your financial support now more than ever!
  • Stay informed – follow EBSC on social media: facebook, instagram and twitter.
  • Reach out to friends and neighbors, especially the elderly, and offer to get them groceries and medicine. Help undocumented immigrants understand their rights during this challenging time. Share our Coronavirus Resources page.
  • Call your elected officials and hold them accountable for stopping the spread of COVID-19 and the preservation of lives! Please free to edit the sample script below (prepared by our allies at Al Otro Lado) to tailor to your voice and convictions. Find your representative here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative. Find your senator here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact

Sample Script:

Hello – my name is ____ and I am a constituent of ____/.

I am calling to let them know I am deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of people in ICE detention and CBP custody and the officers, guards, judges and attorneys who service that community. The unsanitary conditions and severe medical neglect in these facilities have already been well documented. I am asking ____ to show their commitment to stopping the spread of the coronavirus and to the preservation of lives by calling for, at the very least:

  • Release of all pregnant and medially vulnerable detainees
  • Release of all detainees that do not pose a danger to the community
  • Release of all families in ICE detention

In the immigration courts, _____ should push for

  • Cancellation of all initial and master calendar hearings
  • Continuation of individual hearings upon request
  • Making telephonic and teleconferencing hearings available
  • Granting continuances if requested

The MPP – “Remain in Mexico” program also poses an imminent threat to vulnerable migrants in shelters and camps at the border. All initial and master MPP hearings should be cancelled, and individual hearings allowed to proceed telephonically. All medically vulnerable migrants should be paroled out of MPP immediately.

All Actions Should be Taken Without Penalty!