Why ICE’s coronavirus response is so dangerous

In the midst of a global pandemic, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to imprison tens of thousands of people in a labyrinthine system of immigration jails and prisons across the country. Described by its own whistleblower doctors as a “tinderbox,” these immigration jails and prisons have already become hotspots for outbreaks of the Covid-19 respiratory disease.

Yesterday, ICE reported the first confirmed case of a person in its custody testing positive for Covid-19 in Bergen County Jail in New Jersey, soon after a corrections officer tested positive there last week. This follows reports of a medical staffer testing positive at a private immigration prison in Elizabeth, New Jersey, along with two people held in criminal custody at Hudson County Jail, which also holds a contract with ICE. At least 10 people were held in isolation in Aurora Contract Detention Facility in Colorado last week based on concerns of a Covid-19 outbreak, even as Denver area ICE agents continued to arrest parents, one on her way to pick up her children from school.

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