ICE Virus Plan for Detainees ‘Medically Dangerous,’ Groups Say


(Bloomberg) -- Civil rights groups are seeking a court order to make the Trump administration protect tens of thousands of people in immigration detention facilities from the spread of the coronavirus.

The request, by groups including the Southern Poverty Law Center, was filed Tuesday in federal court in Riverside, California, after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed the first case of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, among its detainees.

ICE, part of the Department of Homeland Security, hasn’t provided “even the most basic public health protections” inside detention centers, according to the filing. The virus has infected more than 55,000 people in the U.S. and killed more than 800, and is spreading rapidly.

“Based on first-hand observations from attorneys serving clients inside detention centers and direct reports from people who are detained, the current conditions are medically dangerous and fail to meet standard public health recommendations for addressing the pandemic,” the groups said Wednesday in a statement.

ICE declined to comment. Its website says one ICE employee assigned to a detention facility in New Jersey has been infected, as have 18 who aren’t assigned to facilities.

The filing says “that guidance is dangerously deficient in numerous respects from any reasonable medical and public health perspective.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.