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ICE Releases A Group of Women Detained At Mesa Verde Detention Center In Bakersfield

Mesa Verde Detention Center

Immigration and Customs Enforcement released 18 women this week detained at the Mesa Verde Detention Center in Bakersfield. But neither the women nor their attorneys were given advance notice to make accommodations. 

Lilian Marquez, 45, was detained at Mesa Verde for 11 months. But on Wednesday, she and another woman were released without explanation. 

“But we were sick so I think that's why they released us because we have pre-existing conditions, we have sickness,” Marquez said. “But today [Thursday] they released all 16 of them that were left yesterday.” 

Under ICE's terms, "released" can mean: released to the community, released to be transferred to another facility, or released to be deported, according to Jordan Wells, a lawyer with the ACLU.

As of Friday two of the women "released"  are still being held at Mesa Verde, Wells said. One of those women has agreed to be deported back to her home country. The other awaits a judge's ruling on her case, he added.

Marquez says she learned about the other women through a friend who had been released on Thursday. She says some of the women who were detained do not speak English or have an immediate place to stay. They were also released without explanation. 

“My attorney didn't know either. So they’re all scrambling right now trying to get help and get people out there so they're not just lost wandering,” Marquez said. 

Marquez is now in Stockton with her ex-husband. She says ICE put an ankle monitor on her and told her to report to her local office in Stockton. ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

As a matter of policy, ICE said it cannot comment on pending litigations.

Madi Bolanos covered immigration and underserved communities for KVPR from 2020-2022. Before joining the station, she interned for POLITCO in Washington D.C. where she reported on US trade and agriculture as well as indigenous women’s issues during the Canadian election. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in anthropology from San Francisco State University. Madi spent a semester studying at the Danish Media and Journalism School where she covered EU policies in Brussels and alleged police brutality at the Croatian-Serbian border.