We certainly should not be expanding the private GEO Mesa Verde detention facility that is located here in Bakersfield. Instead, we should be dismantling this prison that is holding innocent people who escaped from horrible conditions.

You may know that our country signed the 1967 Protocol, an important international immigrant treaty, that is still legal but not enforced?

Among its provisions for asylum seekers:

  • They only have to be on U.S. soil; they are not required to come through a port of entry.
  • They cannot be charged with a crime for entering our country.
  • They have one year to apply for asylum.
  • Family units must be kept together and adjudicated as a single application.
  • They must be granted access to legal counsel and the courts.
  • There can be no bias in determining asylum.
  • Their religious beliefs must be honored.
  • They have the right to freedom of movement.

We are a nation of laws, but possibly our president is unaware of this treaty. Can you please encourage him to follow its principles?

Ann Silver, Bakersfield