ICE keeps moving detainees around the U.S., causing COVID-19 outbreaks

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In the past several months, ICE has shuffled hundreds of people in its custody around the country The transfers, which ICE says were sometimes done to curb the spread of COVID-19, have led to outbreaks, according to attorneys, reports and ICE declarations

Richwood had 29 confirmed cases at the time."Many of these positive cases were transferred from other facilities to Richwood," the official told the court., prison officials told employees they'd be required to work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, due to staff shortages caused by a"high number of positive COVID 19 staff cases." About a week later, two Richwood guards died from COVID-19.Stories like that concern Rep. Jason Crow, D.-Colo.

Last week, Aurora diagnosed its first cases of coronavirus among detainees, though several guards have been infected. One of the two men with COVID-19 had recently transferred from Sterling, according to his attorney, Henry Hollithron. Oscar Perez Aguirre, 57, arrived with a fever. After his health quickly deteriorated, said Hollithron, he was hospitalized. Aurora now has five cases.

Federal courts have begun to question ICE about how its transfer practices may be putting detainees at risk. The detainees who were moved to Broward were cleared before leaving, ICE told the court, and were put into a 14-day quarantine. "We can only speculate that some of these detainees were moved to other facilities as it is well known that ICE has continued operations and not followed the lead of the Bureau of Prisons and Louisiana Department of Corrections, both of whom have largely precluded the movement of their inmates," the court wrote.Those held inside the nation's immigrant detention facilities could see coronavirus coming, but could do little to stop it.

At least 200 people were transferred to Bluebonnet since mid-March, according to news reports and numbers provided by Management and Training Corporation , the private company that runs Bluebonnet. Whether the coronavirus was carried in by one of them, or the six officers who have tested positive, Mejia couldn't say.


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