Immigrants’ Rights Clinic Students Submit Complaint Over Violations at Desert View Annex Detention Facility

On May 9, 2024, The Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, in partnership with the ACLU of Southern California and the Shut Down Adelanto Coalition, submitted a complaint to the Office of Immigration Detention Ombudsman (OIDO), an independent oversight entity within the Department of Homeland Security. The complaint calls attention to several violations of the federal government’s detention standards at Desert View Annex, a facility in Southern California. The complaint details many problematic conditions that violate the government’s own detention standards, including the facility’s repeated denial of access to attorneys, refusal to provide adequate medical care, and failure to serve nutritional food. The letter calls on OIDO to exercise its oversight powers to immediately conduct an unannounced investigation of the facility.

The complaint letter was drafted by students Ari Berman, ’24, and Madison Villarreal, ’24. Prior clinic students met with detainees and their attorneys and conducted other detailed research. These students included: Sebastian Alarcon, ‘24, Truman Chen, ‘24, Lauren Davila, ‘23, Aaron Franklin, ‘23, Seth Goldman, ‘23, Eduardo Gonzalez, ‘23, Caroline Hunsicker, ‘24, Jenny Jiao, ‘23, Tessa Silverman, ‘24, Christian Soler, ‘22, Nathan Tauger, ‘23, and Mitchell Wong, ‘23.

Immigrants' Rights Clinic Students Submit Complaint Over Violations of Detention Standards at Desert View Annex Detention Facility
Students Ari Berman, ’24 and Madison Villarreal, ’24.

Ari Berman, ’24, reflects: Individuals we interviewed shared the horrific conditions they endure: frustration of attorney-client communications, insufficient and neglectful medical care, harassment and abuse from guards. Our complaint letter takes a step towards recognizing the unjustly punitive nature of immigration detention and points to urgently-needed reforms.

Madison Villarreal, ’24, observes: ” Many of the individuals we spoke with previously served time in state prisons and said that the conditions at DVA were significantly worse in every way. The Office of the Immigration Detention Ombudsman was recently created to address conditions like these and it is my sincere hope that the Office specifically addresses the long list of concerns we’ve raised and improves the conditions within these facilities. GEO Group and ICE cannot continue to operate immigration detention facilities without regard to the human lives they house – they must be held accountable. We are honored to have the opportunity to join forces with the Coalition and hope that our work can continue their efforts to create change in these immigration detention facilities with the ultimate goal of abolition.”