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  • Activists inside and outside the detention centers are taking action to fight the continuing arrest of migrants in the midst of a health crisis. 

    Activists inside and outside the detention centers are taking action to fight the continuing arrest of migrants in the midst of a health crisis.  | Photo: EFE

Published 22 March 2020
Opinion

ICE’s detention centers are known for their danger in spreading deadly diseases to people detained.

Legal rights groups RAICES, Rapid Defense Network, and ALDEA-The People's Justice Center filed an emergency lawsuit on behalf of families and children detained by the United States (U.S.) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to demand their immediate release as the new coronavirus is fast-spreading across the country.

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The organizations said Saturday in a press release that all the migrant detention centers “failed to take adequate measures to protect detained families from COVID-19, and there is no justification for risking these families' health and safety.” 

“Doing so also risks the increasingly strained local healthcare systems [...], should these families contract COVID-19 while detained,” they warned.

The groups also recalled that these migrant families do not represent a threat and will not flee anywhere.

"The families who are detained in these detention centers facilities have no criminal history and do not pose any threat whatsoever to public safety and are not flight risk-they all came to the United States to seek asylum and are actively pursuing the right to remain in the United States," they added.

ICE’s detention centers are known for their danger in spreading deadly diseases to people detained, and concerns have been rising over when the COVID-19 will arrive at a center and infect hundreds or thousands of people. 

Activists along with doctors, lawyers, and officials are thus urging the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to release these families, while other activists inside and outside the centers are taking action to fight the continuing detention of migrants in the midst of a global health crisis. 

In New Jersey, for instance, prisoners started hunger strikes in three facilities over unsanitary, dire conditions and a coming disease.

ICE said last week that one of its workers has the coronavirus, prompting the increase in calls for the release of detainees. 

The coronavirus pandemic has quickly spread across the U.S. over the past days, with 32,464 confirmed cases and 414 deaths as of Sunday.

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