As the Covid-19 virus outbreak continues, its effects are being seen at all levels. So far, the elderly and immunocompromised are at the worst risk for serious complications. This concern extends to high-risk areas like hospitals where pregnant women or those with chronic diseases. But nowhere is this concern more present than in the case of immigrant detentions. Held in close-quarters and without information, it is up to advocacy to make sure these immigrants get the care they need in this trying time.
As reported by the Lexington Herald Leader, advocate groups in Washington state have been appealing to immigrant courts over Covid-19 considerations and detainee conditions.
Current concerns and demands
Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington have sent letters to ICE regarding the risks that Covid-19 presents to high-risk individuals. Detention centers are often cramped and may lack the resources to test all at risk. They insist that they should release those detainees who are older than 60, are pregnant or who possess underlying conditions like weakened immune systems on parole. Since Washington has experienced the most severe outbreak, it has also been requested that transfers in or out of detention centers stop
ICE response and status
ICE so far has provided no indication that they will consider release unless ordered by a judge. Witness reports that the Northwest detention center in Tacoma has a full medical isolation unit. These reports have some advocacy groups worried that there are not enough resources being provided to detainees in need.
With medical emergencies that have people emptying shelves of toilet paper and water, it is important that those immigrants without that luxurybe seen and advocated for.