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Call On Pennsylvania Governor Wolf to Urge ICE to Free Detained Immigrants & Asylum-Seekers


©Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“When she coughs, it’s like an old man who coughs ‐ you can hear her coughing in another room.” — Lawyers describing a 6‐month‐old detained at the Berks family detention facility since February.

Tens of thousands of immigrants and asylum-seekers are trapped in ICE detention facilities across the U.S., where they cannot practice physical distancing, face increased risk of contracting COVID-19 in overcrowded conditions, and have limited access to medical care. These jails run the risk of becoming incubators for COVID-19.

There are hundreds of individuals and families detained in the state of Pennsylvania. At the Berks detention facility in March and April, families reported:

• Parents and children were sick with coughs, congestion, and fever while staff exhibited similar cold‐like symptoms;

• Families did not have access to hand sanitizer or adequate soap, and were only provided gloves to clean the facility or their rooms;

• After displaying COVID-19-like symptoms, a 5‐year‐old girl was sent to the hospital with her mother for testing. ICE refused to tell her lawyers whether she was tested for COVID-19 and, if so, what the results were.

Governor Tom Wolf can use his public health authority to pressure ICE to substantially reduce its immigration detention populations in facilities in the state, mitigate the otherwise inevitable spread of COVID-19, and protect immigrants and asylum-seekers.

While representing different organizational views and calls to action, AIUSA is joining together with Aldea — The People’s Justice Center, Families Belong Together, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, National Immigrant Justice Center, Never Again Action, OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates, Oxfam America, Physicians for Human Rights, and the Women’s Refugee Commission to demand Governor Wolf to take action to protect immigrants and asylum-seekers in Pennsylvania.

Make your voice heard!

Last updated 7 May 2020

Chief of Staff
State of Pennsylvania