Detainee Allies is a grassroots organization created by neighbors who felt the need to take action on the injustices they were seeing being done to people trying to immigrate to the U.S. They began locally, realizing that they were only twenty miles away from one of the most controversial borders, the San Diego and Tijuana border. Near the border was the Otay Mesa Detention Center. They chose to write letters to people being detained in Otay Mesa and received responses from people who were grateful to hear that someone outside the detention center was thinking about them. The letters quickly started flooding in and expandedRead More →

Group: Thomas Konrad, Saul Miranda-Cardenas, RJ Garcia, Axuni Martinez Detainee Allies started in June 2018 in San Diego as a group of concerned friends and neighbors sitting around a table in the Del Cerro neighborhood. They were all upset how bad people were being treated, and nothing was being done to help. Some of them have never done anything like this before; some of them are long-time community volunteers, or activists. With their combined knowledge, they understood how limited they were in ways of helping. It came down to one simple way they could help, which was donating money. Unfortunately, they do not have moreRead More →

A collection of letters written by Venezuelan detained migrants covering the topics of their life in Venezuela, conflict, their detained experience, and their collaboration with Detainee Allies. These letters were written by six people whose identities are kept anonymous, known only by their initials: E. L., S. G., A. R., M. W., and M. R. These writers come from diverse backgrounds, but share similar experiences throughout their journey, fleeing from many called the worst humanitarian, economic, and political crisis in Venezuela. Due to the sensitivity of their detained situation, not much is known of them other than what is written. With rising corruption and resistanceRead More →

Ivette Lorona, a second-year graduate student at San Diego State University studying Public Health and Latin American Studies, is the head intern coordinator for Detainee Allies, a grassroots organization that writes letters to detained migrants and asylum-seekers. Ivette’s academic work focuses on health promotion and behavioral science, and she is particularly interested in the health outcomes of people who live in Tijuana and cross the U.S. border to work and/or go to school in San Diego. This interview covers a range of topics, such as: immigration, detention centers and the conditions of those inside, letter writing, and community. What I found most intriguing during thisRead More →

    For this Oral History Interview, I talked with Jennifer Gonzalez, one of the lead organizers for Detainee Allies. Jennifer has had an interesting and varied life, arriving by roundabout from practicing law to engaging in social work advocating on behalf of asylum seekers and now those detained in Otay Mesa. Jennifer went from Stanford Law to immigrant rights work in North Carolina, solidifying her decision to use the law as a tool to help the most marginalized in the American legal system. We both connected over our mutual understanding that direct action, in particular the development and circulation of repressed narratives to affect systemic change.Read More →

A collection of letters written by Venezuelan detained migrants covering the topics of their life in Venezuela, conflict, their detained experience, and their collaboration with Detainee Allies. These letters were written by six people whose identities are kept anonymous, known only by their initials: E. L., S. G., A. R., M. W., and M. R. With rising corruption and resistance throughout Venezuela caused by various political and economic factors, these letters portray the injustices they fled, only to be met by another at the US-MX border. Many recall what is considered the ‘worst humanitarian crisis in the history of Venezuela,’ telling of physical abuse, foodRead More →