The Congregation Beth Shalom Immigration and Sanctuary Committee recognizes that the needs of refugees and immigrants do not stop during a health crisis. In fact, the coronavirus itself, as well as measures to stop its spread, are hitting vulnerable segments of our population the hardest. Below is a call to action from our partners at La Resistencia. Let’s hear their call and contact our representatives now:
Our community has reports from detained people that there are at least 19 cases of COVID-19 at NWDC. Furthermore, 33 people were deported from NWDC on March 17 despite NWDC’s proximity to the epicenter of the virus. We know the health of detained people has never mattered to ICE or GEO Group. This is no different now, despite the imminent threats associated with the COVID-19 epidemic.
While Governor Inslee has offered to monitor and communicate about what is going on at NWDC, we need him to do more.During a state of emergency, the Governor has emergency powers to “help preserve and maintain life, health, property or the public peace.” He has already used those powers to encourage social distancing for non-detained people by halting gatherings of 50 or more. But what about detained people?
Please call and email the Governor today using the attached script & email template.
- Governor Jay Inslee, 360-902-4111
- David Postman, Chief of Staff, email@example.com, 360-902-4112
- Alejandro Sanchez, Special Assistant, Alejandro.Sanchez@gov.wa.gov, 360-902-4124
- Molly Voris, Senior Policy Advisor, Public Health and Health Care, firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-902-0557
Hi [CONTACT NAME],
My name is [NAME], and I’m calling because our community has reports from detained people that there are at least 19 cases of COVID-19 at NWDC. As a Washington resident, I want to know how the governor will use his emergency powers to release people from NWDC so they don’t die from COVID-19? As a business, GEO Group should have to abide by Inslee’s moratorium on gatherings of 50 people or more. His willingness to monitor what is happening at NWDC is clearly not enough!
We need the Governor to use his emergency powers to get people released and to stop people from being newly detained and deported.
Can we count on Inslee to act now?
Dear Governor Jay Inslee, Special Assistant Alejandro Sanchez, Chief of Staff David Postman, and Senior Policy Advisor Molly Voris,
In response to community pressure, Governor Inslee’s Office recently shared concerns about the devastating potential for an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Northwest Detention Center. You said your office will be monitoring all developments, and you will be in close communication with the Department of Health, detention center staff, our federal delegation, and advocates. You also said you are preparing to ensure that our state can respond in the event further action is needed.
The time for further action is now. Currently, there is no transparency about the number of confirmed or potential COVID-19 cases at NWDC. And, because GEO Group continues to detain approximately 800 people in close quarters at NWDC, their business is not in compliance with the social distancing restrictions you’ve imposed in our state.
That number is still growing because new arrests are still being made, and ICE has not announced they will stop transferring people to NWDC from other places in the country. Furthermore, deportation flights are still happening, which likely will contribute to the spread of COVID-19 globally. This is a public health emergency.
Now is the time for the Governor to use his emergency powers to order the release of detained people at NWDC so people do not die on your watch. Now is the time for you to use your powers to halt deportations and to stop new people from being sent to NWDC.
According to RCW 43.06.220, when a state of emergency is declared, the governor can ”issue an order prohibiting such other activities as he or she reasonably believes should be prohibited to help preserve and maintain life, health, property or the public peace.” Governor Inslee, you have the opportunity to preserve the life and health of detained people by using your emergency powers to release people from NWDC, prevent new detentions and deportations. Please act now.
[ORGANIZATION IF APPLICABLE]