File photo of an ICE detention center in Otay Mesa, California.
Photo: Aurelia Ventura / Impremedia / La Opinion
NEW YORK – A group of Democratic lawmakers, led by Senator Bob Menendez, sent a letter to immigration agencies asking them to issue a Guidance for Avoiding Arrest of Previously Detained and Released Individuals during the pandemic, and that they do not represent a danger and have fulfilled the conditions for their freedom.
“It is imperative that federal authorities protect the health, safety and rights of detainees, as well as the well-being of the staff, families and surrounding communities of the ICE detention centers, ”they indicate in the letter to the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE).
Senators urged agencies to take steps to eliminate the “unforeseen, uncertainty and arbitrariness” generated by the approaches of the different ICE offices regarding the repeated detention of released persons, exposing them to contagion.
“We ask them to quickly issue a guide to ICE offices and detention centers so that individuals who have been released due to COVID-19 and continue to comply with the conditions of their release can remain free, “they indicated in the letter.
ICE detention centers have been spreading points of the virus, endangering the health and safety of detainees, staff and surrounding communities, the legislators recalled in a joint statement.
Also that in April 2020, a federal judge ordered ICE to release all immigrants detained at risk from COVID-19.
ICE has released 3,741 detainees
From March 22, 2021, ICE has released only 3,741 detainees, which represents less than 16% of the population in their centers.
According to the Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has more than 800 clients among those released, many of these individuals now live in safer conditions with their families, in accordance with court orders, and do not pose any danger. some for your community.
Even if some ICE offices have agreed not to re-detain any releasedOthers have actively sought to overturn the court orders that released them, according to Senators Menendez, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal, Alex Padilla, Edward J. Markey, Sheldon Whitehouse and Dianne Feinstein.
The lawmakers ‘petition is backed by the ACLU and the CAIR Coalition, and is part of senators’ efforts to protect the rights of migrants and asylum seekers.
In March 2021, Menéndez and Booker joined Warren and several of their colleagues to introduce a bicameral bill that requires detention facilities to collect and publish data on COVID-19 cases, vaccine distribution, and preventive measures.
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