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Inland Catholics to pray for detained immigrants at annual Migration Mass

By in Press Enterprise on December 31, 2017

By Alejandra Molina

Inland Catholics will be praying for immigrants being held in detention centers at the annual Migration Mass in January.

The Mass, which in past years has focused on refugees and migrant laborers, is set for Sunday, Jan. 14, at Holy Innocents Church in Victorville.

At first, the service was to be celebrated across the street from Adelanto Detention Facility — California’s largest immigration detention center. But the location was moved after the Diocese of San Bernardino could not get approval from the city of Adelanto and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in time to promote the Mass among parishes across Riverside and San Bernardino counties, Diocese spokesman John Andrews said.

The church is about 10 miles away from the center.

The Mass, to be celebrated by Bishop Gerald R. Barnes, will focus on migrants in detention “because there has been an increase in the number of people detained and incarcerated in these facilities through immigration raids,” Andrews said.

“We are also concerned about the Adelanto facility in particular, due to reports of inhumane conditions there and rights violations,” Andrews said.

At 409,000 square feet, the Adelanto Detention Facility has an average daily population of 1,600. Immigrants stay anywhere from a couple of months to several years. More than 70 nationalities are represented among the immigrants detained there. Most are Mexican nationals, followed by immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador.

Immigrants can end up in the High Desert facility after seeking asylum at the San Diego and Tijuana border or after they’re arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agents in enforcement operations across Southern California. They are there solely for administrative purposes, pending decisions in their immigration cases or while awaiting deportation.

The private facility, operated and managed by The GEO Group, has drawn criticism over the number of detainees who have died […]    

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