Officials could at the very least release particularly vulnerable people, but they’re continuing to endanger lives in the midst of this growing pandemic—and being evasive about it. When a staffer at the Elizabeth Detention Center went into self-quarantine after showing COVID-19 symptoms, the facility refused to say whether the person was a medical worker. ICE has since confirmed that staffer tested positive—and that the person was a medical worker.
In a tweet, The Nation’s Ken Klippenstein revealed the approaching public health crisis that has been creeping into federal immigration detention:
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is demanding more money for more cruelty. No:
In migrant family jails, parents are also complaining about unsafe conditions. “My son and I are in a room with about nine other people,” said one asylum-seeker in a lawsuit against the Trump administration. “We sleep very close together, and there is very little space to maintain distance from other people when we are in the room. When I am laying down in my bed, I can touch the bed next to me. My son has a cough and other people in our room also have a cough. They have never quarantined the people who have a cough.”
ICE is creating a “massive public health crisis” by refusing to free people, the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project said. “With confirmed reports that an ICE staff member in Elizabeth Detention Center and a staff member in the Bergen County Jail in New Jersey have tested positive for coronavirus, it grows clearer that it is only a matter of when, not if, an outbreak of COVID-19 will ravage immigrant detention facilities.”
Free them now.