A sudden spike in fresh new covid-19 cases is reported in several immigration detention centers across the U.S.
The spike is caused by the arrival of immigrants from the Mexican border through border patrol facilities, as implied by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
Spike In Covid-19 Cases In Detention Centers Across The USA
At the moment the U.S. and Mexico border is experiencing a heavy inrush of asylum seekers and migrants from Mexico.
The point of view held by critics:
The critics are of the opinion that, the surge in cases occurred due to non-adherence to the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by the ICE.
These include minimizing the unneeded movement of detainees among the ICE detention facilities.
In the ICE detention facilities, the individuals are kept in small crammed-up quarters behind bars, where the virus can spread quite rapidly.
Medical experts concern that the recent surge of cases not only poses a threat to the detainees and the staff of the detention centers but also to adjoining communities at a time when the covid-19 protocols are being relaxed in certain states.
Data of the ICE:
Based on the data posted by the ICE on its website and the details obtained by interviewing attorneys and immigration advocates, it is clear that the spike in cases is observed in several detention centers.
These immigrant detention centers are owned by and managed by non-government, for-profit organizations, with whom the ICE holds a contract.
These facilities include La Palma Correctional Center, and Eloy Detention Center, based at Eloy, Arizona. The third one is Adams County Correctional Center, located in Natchez, Mississippi.
All three detention centers are owned and managed by CoreCivic, an organization based out of Nashville.
The surge in covid-19 cases is also noted in Richwood Correctional Center in Monroe, Louisiana. It is owned and managed by the LaSalle Corrections, located in Ruston, Louisiana.
These new cases are a recurrence of the covid-19 crisis that these centers have witnessed in the past.
Concern was raised by a few detainees and officers of the particular centers regarding insufficient covid-19 precautionary measures that has been denied by the ICE authorities and the private managing bodies.
Troubles in the past:
A lawsuit was initiated against the Adams County Correctional Center in April of 2020, on behalf of seven detainees medically susceptible to the covid-19 infection.
The lawsuit claimed inadequate covid precautionary measures in the centers, such as a dorm being shared by 120 people, the staff at the center not wearing masks and gloves. It also stated that most of the detainees did not have soaps available for them.
A correctional officer spoke publicly about the poor measures of covid-19 precaution at the correctional centers after a correctional officer at the Eloy Detention Center succumbed to the covid-19 infection.
Such allegations against the managing body, CoreCivic was negated by the Arizona Division of Occupational Health and Safety.
In another instance, in April 2020, pepper spray and pepper balls were used by the guards of the La Palma Correctional Center to curb a peaceful protest carried out by the detainees of the center.
The residents of the center were protesting against the violation of the covid safety protocols, which has been recently revealed by a report of the government’s watchdog.
According to the official data of the ICE, 1217 detainees at the La Palma Correctional Center have been tested positive for covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, which is the highest number compared to any other correctional center in the U.S.
Similar incidences were recorded at the Richwood Correctional Center managed by the La-Salle Corrections, where two officials died after succumbing to the infection.
According to recent ICE data, there are 400 confirmed cases in Adams facility, the highest among all, followed by 192, 157, and 155 cases at the Richwood, Eloy, and La Palma facilities, respectively.