California state lawmaker denied access to migrant detention center to deliver masks, gloves

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Lorena Gonzalez is California’s 80th District Assemblywoman representing the southern portion of San Diego County.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a statement from CoreCivic, the company that runs the Otay Mesa Detention Center.

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and a group of human and immigrant rights activists were denied access to the Otay Mesa Detention Center on Friday when they tried to deliver 1,000 masks and gloves to detainees at the facility.

Gonzalez, who represents California’s 80th Assembly District, located in southern San Diego County where the detention center is located, expressed concern and regret after they were turned away as they tried to deliver a box and a crate containing the protective materials.

“I’m incredibly sad, we’re providing something for free that could help people stay alive,” she said. “We’re saying, ‘Here, take 1,000 masks to keep individuals, souls, safe.’ And they won’t even meet with us.”

As of 5 p.m. Friday, 57 detainees had tested positive for the coronavirus at the Otay Mesa Detention Center, the most of any detention center of its kind in the entire nation. Eight employees have also tested positive.

CoreCivic, the company that runs the Otay Mesa Detention Center, said “its government partner at ICE advised them not to accept the masks.”

Otay Mesa Detention Center houses mostly migrants awaiting trial. The American Civil Liberties Union is demanding the release of detainees over 45 and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

The company also said in a statement that “every employee and detainee at our Otay Mesa facility has a mask and, as a result of deliberate planning and actions we’ve been taking since January, we have ample supplies on hand. However, as we all know, there’s a need for essential supplies in our communities, and we recommend that anyone able to make a PPE donation visit FEMA’s website so that those supplies can get to those who most need them.”

ACLU sues to release detainees at Otay Mesa Detention Center

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