Council Files Civil Rights Complaint Over Dangerous ICE Detention Policies During Coronavirus Pandemic

May 7, 2020

The American Immigration Council and other immigration groups filed a civil rights complaint to protect individuals in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities during the coronavirus pandemic. The complaint calls on oversight agencies to demand immediate action by ICE to help stop the spread of the coronavirus where social distancing is not possible, including:

  • Ending the transfer of individuals between immigration detention centers. ICE continues to transfer people regularly, including two who tested positive for coronavirus just after their transfer.
  • Requiring all staff – some of whom may be infected – to use personal protective equipment while in immigration detention facilities.
  • Increasing availability of testing for coronavirus for individuals in custody who have been exposed to coronavirus or who are exhibiting symptoms.
  • Implementing alternatives to detention to significantly reduce the population of individuals in ICE detention.

The complaint is based on the firsthand accounts of 17 people the Council has encountered in ICE detention facilities throughout the country. It was filed with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL).

The American Immigration Council filed this complaint through our Immigration Justice Campaign, a joint initiative with the American Immigration Lawyers Association to fight for due process and justice for detained immigrants.

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