June 18, 2021

USA studies releasing some migrants detained by the COVID-19 pandemic


The Government of the President of the United States, Donald Trump, announced on Tuesday that it is studying to free some migrants considered as a risk population that is in their custody because of the coronavirus.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE, in English) said in a statement quoted by local media that as of March 30, it had identified some 600 immigrants in a vulnerable situation and that 160 have already been released for that reason.

Some 35,000 migrants are in ICE custody, according to data from the American Civil Rights Union (ACLU).

The agency is considering releasing or giving an alternative to detention to those in their custody over the age of 60 and pregnant women.

The announcement comes as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases of immigrants to ICE facilities grew to 19 as distant from each other as in Michigan, Arizona, New Jersey or Pennsylvania.

“Due to the unprecedented nature of the new 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19), ICE is reviewing cases of detainees who may be vulnerable to the virus,” the immigration agency said in its statement.

“The agency,” he added, “has instructed its offices to further evaluate and consider the release of certain people who are considered to be at increased risk of exposure, in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) “.

In addition, ICE reported that “efforts are being made to identify other people who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19, based on the risk factors identified by the CDC, in addition to age and pregnancy.”

The ACLU, for its part, said that with its decision, ICE “recognizes (…) that immigration detention is a death sentence for people who are at high risk due to age or underlying medical conditions.”

This organization had filed lawsuits in 13 states of the country to obtain the release of migrants due to risk of the coronavirus and managed to free at least 30.

“Public health experts have made it clear that we need to see drastic reductions in the 35,000 detainees; many more than 600 must be released to significantly mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and avoid a humanitarian crisis,” added this organization.

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