Alarm about the increase in infections in a US border detention center

The number of migrants infected by COVID-19 at the Otay Mesa, California, detention center increased to more than 120 this Saturday, as confirmed by an advocate for the rights of undocumented immigrants who is trying to deliver a thousand masks to detainees. .

Pedro Ríos, director of the American Friends Services Committee in San Diego, told EFE this Saturday that the increase in the number of infections in the detention center is “alarming.”

“The last report we have is of 120 infected migrants, this is at least one in ten (migrants) who remain in the detention center,” he explained.

With these figures, Otay Mesa would become the most contagious immigration detention center in the country.

The center is less than 3 miles from the California-Mexico border.

“We went from 24 infected just a few days ago to more than 120 for this Saturday, it is already a very dangerous situation,” Ríos insisted.

Attorney Dulce García, from the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, explained for her part that the conditions of detention lend themselves to an outbreak inside.

“They have up to eight people in the same cell, and they have been given a disposable mouth cover that they have to use during the time they are detained, it is a sentence to be infected,” García insisted.

Meanwhile, more than a hundred migrants remain on hunger strike inside the center. The extreme measure demands from the federal authorities security measures and social distancing to avoid contagions.

A state legislator, Assemblywoman Lorena González, and representatives of various human rights groups in San Diego, tried to deliver a donation of 1,000 mouth covers and other items for migrants on Friday. However, they did not succeed.

The management of the center told González that they could leave the donation on the sidewalk, on the street outside the parking lot, “to see if someone picks them up,” the legislator criticized.

González highlighted the seriousness of keeping about 1,200 migrants detained in this place.

“These are not people who are dangerous or who have committed serious crimes, they are people seeking asylum; if it were an asylum for older adults, it would have been closed weeks ago,” the assemblywoman insisted.

As of this Thursday, ICE had confirmed 297 cases of COVID-19 transmission among migrants detained in various detention centers across the country and another 123 among its own employees.


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