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Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images 
Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images 

Hispanic Caucus urges ICE to release detainees amid increasing COVID-19 cases

On July 13, a federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments in a case that could decide whether ICE should release parents from detention with their children.

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Eighty House Democrats and Hispanic Caucus (CHC) members are demanding the Trump administration release all parents and children from immigration family detention centers who are dangerously exposed to COVID-19.
 

The letter asks the Trump administration to stop using the COVID-19 crisis as a means for implementing unlawful and inhumane immigration policies. It comes after a California court order for ICE to release all children who have been detained for more than 20 days at a facility in Pennsylvania and two in Texas.

So far no action has been taken.

Caucus members again warned facility CEOs in a July 10 letter stating that the crowded facilities pose a dangerous threat for COVID-19 outbreaks.

The letter, signed by multiple CHC members and chair Joaquin Castro mentions it has been nearly three months since the Trump administration declared a national emergency regarding COVID-19, yet the number of coronavirus cases in ICE detention centers has exponentially increased every week, with multiple outbreaks across several facilities.

“We are alarmed by reports that individuals held in detention with symptoms of COVID-19 have reported being denied necessary medical care; some have complained of being in solitary confinement; others have been ignored outright.”

A July 12 NBC report outlines these complaints with the Department of Homeland Security (CHS) wherein lawyers representing immigrant families in the three detention centers alleged ICE has failed to provide adequate medical care for their clients.

These lawyers, and lawyers representing the Trump administration are expected on Monday to  appear in U.S District Court in Washington D.C. to determine the fate of detained migrant families.

The CHC continues to fight for the families, who, as these debates go on, continue to be exposed to the virus because of tight quarters and inadequate care.

In the July 10 letter, Castro and other Hispanic Caucus members asked to meet with CEOs of CoreCivic and GEO Group, two private prison operators that manage immigrant detention centers for the federal government. Two facilities controlled by the companies have brought concerns from lawyers.

“President Trump commuted the sentence of convicted felon Roger Stone, but migrant families and children seeking asylum are indefinitely jailed while COVID-19 spreads like fire,” wrote Castro on Twitter.

“This is the most corrupt and cruel presidency in modern history. Ice must #FreeTheFamilies together,” he continued.

 

The outcome of today’s meeting before a federal judge will determine whether the U.S. will follow the humane and compassionate route, or if the administration will continue to inflict psychological damage on children and families.

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