A group of Democrats in the House of Representatives urged the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, to stop re-detaining migrants who were previously released due to concerns over spreading the COVID-19 virus.
The 40 Democrats wrote in a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and to acting ICE Director Tae Johnson saying that ICE’s detention policies from several field offices have been “inconsistent” and have caused “great uncertainty” for the migrants in question. The group of leftists is being led by Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal.
“Specifically, we urge you to refrain from re-detaining individuals previously released due to COVID-19 solely due to the improving pandemic conditions and to continue robust safety measures in ICE detention centers, including access to vaccines,” the letter reads. “These steps are vital to fulfilling your obligations to protect the health and safety of people in ICE custody, ICE staff, and the families who live in the communities where ICE detention centers exist.”
As of May 31, 16,000 coronavirus cases were reported in ICE facilities, and nine have died from the virus, the letter said.
The rate of infection in the holding buildings “is 20 times greater than in the general public,” and migrants should be allowed to live “safely at home with their families,” the lawmakers added.
“These formerly detained people, however, continue to live with the constant fear of redetention by ICE,” the letter went on to say. “ICE’s position regarding the re-detention of people released due to COVID-19 has been inconsistent across individual Field Offices, causing great uncertainty for formerly detained people. In some commendable instances, ICE has agreed not to re-detain anyone released as a result of COVID-19 related litigation. In other instances, however, ICE stated that the agency has not yet come to a decision regarding re-detention.”
About 8,000 out of the 180,034 individuals that border authorities have encountered were denied entry at a port while the others went across the border through areas that were unfenced. Hence, the reason so many conservatives want a border wall. Such a structure would prevent this sort of illegal crossing.
ICE did not immediately respond back to the Washington Examiner when they sent out a request for a comment.