We understand that our local, state and federal governments must take certain measures to protect people’s health, safety and well-being during this unprecedented public health emergency. As governments take these emergency measures, they must also safeguard people’s civil rights and liberties as guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties is watching closely to ensure our governments’ responses are data-driven, scientifically justified, equitable, and no more intrusive on civil liberties than absolutely necessary.

This page provides:

  • general public health and safety information;
  • links to community and fact-based resources;
  • information and updates on how governments’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic can impact civil rights; and
  • ACLU recommendations and actions taken to address any potential violations of these rights.

Information is constantly changing so please check back for updates.

CLICK HERE for a list of San Diego and Imperial Counties COVID-19 Resources


MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: how to give public comment at local government and school district meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

People Detained and Incarcerated: The ACLU-SDIC sent a letter to state and San Diego County officials requesting written responses detailing how they plan to protect the health and well-being of people in their custody and facility staff.

The ACLU-SDIC joined with local partners, including Pillars of the Community and Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association, to send a letter to San Diego County officials urging for a reduction in the number of people who are incarcerated to relieve over-crowding and reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.

ICE Detention Facilities: The ACLU of California sent letters to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immigration detention center officials urging them to develop a comprehensive emergency plan for the prevention and management of potential COVID-19 cases at their detention centers.

Racial Equity: The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties and ACLU of California sent letters to Governor Newsom and county public health officials to raise concerns pertaining to issues of equity during health emergencies. We requested that the state and counties collect and provide critical demographic data associated with COVID-19 testing, positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths that are disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender and other identities.

Digital Equity: ACLU sent a letter to Congress urging them to provide billions of dollars in funding as part of the next COVID-19 relief package to meet the broadband access and technology needs of students, people with low income and other impacted individuals.

Education Equity: The ACLU of California sent a letter to state education leaders, including leaders in San Diego and Imperial counties, urging them to adopt policies to minimize the impact of school closures on their communities and to proactively support their most vulnerable and under-resourced students.

People Experiencing Homelessness: The ACLU of California sent a letter to the California Department of Public Health urging them to develop and implement plans for homeless shelters in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These facilities, which far too-often are plagued with severely unhygienic and unsafe conditions, are especially in danger of COVID-19 outbreaks.

ACLU-SDIC sent letters to officials in Oceanside, Carlsbad and Encinitas in response to reports that officers were citing homeless people for violating the governor’s “stay-at-home” order. The letters note that “it would be absurd to cite unhoused people for failing to comply” with a stay-at-home order “when, by definition, homeless people, in fact, have no home…”

ACLU-SDIC: COVID-19 Policing Recommendations for Unhoused People in Carlsbad, Encinitas, and Oceanside.

  • Carlsbad response
  • Encinitas responded by phone stating that law enforcement will not be citing unhoused people unable to comply with the stay-at-home order.
  • Oceanside response