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Protect Immigrants and Asylum-Seekers in ICE Detention from the COVID-19 Pandemic


As the world responds to an unprecedented crisis unfolding from the COVID-19 pandemic, people, locked up in U.S. immigration detention face these uncertain times while left behind in facilities -- where crowded conditions place them at increased risk of infection and where access to medical care may be limited.

Detained immigrants and asylum-seekers face grave risks including illness and even death if exposed to infection in immigration detention facilities — where rapid spread within crowded centers may occur. Many of them are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 because of their age or serious medical needs. Conditions in immigration detention are well-documented to have substandard medical care, inadequate basic hygiene, and overcrowding.

All people should have the same access to care and safety — and immigrants and asylum-seekers must not be treated as an afterthought.

The U.S. government is responsible for the health and safety of people in its custody and must take steps to mitigate the risk of infection, illness, and death for these families and individuals, as well as facility staff. The government must immediately release immigrants and asylum-seekers from detention. Many detained immigrants have long-standing family, faith, and other communities in the U.S. who could safely house them if they were released.

Tell the U.S. government it must immediately release immigrants and asylum-seekers from immigration detention — to protect them and prioritize their safety and the safety of others as it responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acting United States Secretary of Homeland Security
ICE Acting Director
Matthew T. "Matt"
ICE Acting Director