California Immigration Activists Chain Themselves to Gov. Newsom's Mansion

A group of immigration protesters chained themselves to the gate of California Gov. Gavin Newsom's Fair Oaks "suburban mansion" on Monday to demand the release of detained immigrants in the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizing under the banner of the "California Liberation Collective," protesters, including undocumented community organizers and immigration attorneys, made their way to Newsom's house in the morning, before some participants chained themselves to the gate.

In video of the demonstration, protesters could be heard shouting "Free them all."

Some protesters held mirror-shaped posters to "hold a mirror" up to what organizer Lisa Knox, an immigration attorney with Centro Legal in Oakland, told Newsweek was Newsom's "hypocrisy" on immigration policy and racial justice.

Newsom, Knox said, has been outspoken on the need to address police brutality and racial injustice, "yet, he's done almost nothing to save the lives of disenfranchised Black and brown people who are in immigration detention centers in California right now."

By releasing immigration detainees, Knox said, Newsom "has the power right now to save lives, literally with the stroke of a pen. He could release people. He could protect people."

The protests come amid a mounting death toll at the San Quentin prison and as COVID-19 continues to spread at U.S. immigration detention facilities across the state and country.

As of Monday morning, there were 969 people in ICE custody who had tested positive for coronavirus and were "under isolation" or being monitored, with the total number of positive cases identified among ICE detainees standing at 3,780.

At least 169 of the total confirmed cases cases have been at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego.

Protesters are demanding that Newsom "use his power, including mass clemency and emergency release, to free people in state prisons," organizers explained in a press release shared with Newsweek.

They are also demanding that the California governor "stop transfers from state and local custody to ICE and between California prisons" and "stop the expansion of immigration detention in California."

Finally, demonstrators want to see Newsom's government doing more to "hold the detention industry accountable."

Newsweek has contacted Newsom's office for comment.

Newsom protest
Protesters chained themselves to the gate outside California Gov. Gavin Newsom's 'suburban mansion' on Monday, July 27, 2020. Brooke Anderson