Recently, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released several immigrants from custody after being pressured by officials over fears the inmates could contract COVID-19 the disease caused by the CCP virus.
There are reportedly almost 40,000 individuals in ICE custody, and activists want them released, ostensibly, to reduce their exposure to the contagion. In recent weeks, federal judges across the country have been releasing ICE detainees on the theory that there is a higher likelihood of contracting the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, while in custody.
Acting Deputy Homeland Security Director Ken Cuccinelli said Tuesday that 693 immigrants currently incarcerated have been identified at risk and listed for quick release. The change of policy is the result of an attempt to slow down the spread of the CCP virus and guarantee the safety of inmates and society, Cuccinelli assured, adding that it was an “unprecedented” situation, Fox News reported.
“As a special response to this particular crisis, ICE has instructed its field offices to further assess for the purpose of considering releases of certain individuals deemed to be at greater risk of exposure,” Cuccinelli added.
Democratic New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and Democratic Representative for Washington Pramila Jayapal introduced a bill on Monday that seemed to go even further. It seeks to release nearly every immigrant in custody due to the crisis.
Those in detention centers are at especially high risk for the spread of COVID-19. I’m working with @PramilaJayapal to pass legislation that would require @ICEgov to quickly release immigrants in their custody who pose no safety threat. https://t.co/U6Q9WJWmqx
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) April 15, 2020
“Detention centers are like a ticking time bomb—they are severely at risk for a COVID-19 outbreak, considering the close quarters in which detainees are housed and a population with much higher rates of underlying health issues,” Booker said, according to the outlet. “We have an obligation to do everything we can to prevent the spread of this deadly disease, and that means moving people out of detention centers when they do not pose a public safety risk.”
On April 12, U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo ordered that five ICE detainees with underlying health conditions be released from New Jersey jails. Citing virus concerns, on March 29, District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles ordered the government to “make continuous efforts” to release children in immigration detention centers.
Releasing #Immigration detainees from custody based on unsupported suspicion that they might be exposed to the #CCPVirus while incarcerated unnecessarily exposes Americans to great risk, a panel discussion by the nonpartisan @CIS_org heard. https://t.co/d70pFO6OXU
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) April 14, 2020
Last week, federal Judge William G. Young ordered Bristol County, Massachusetts Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson, a Republican, to release eight immigration detainees from jail after two staffers there tested positive for the virus. The judge had previously ordered three other detainees released after a nurse at the facility tested positive.
Another seven detainees there were voluntarily released by ICE, which has a contract with Hodgson and other sheriffs in the state to hold arrested detainees at county jails. The former detainees were ordered to self-quarantine and are under house arrest, local media reported.
Epoch Times reporter Matthew Vadum contributed to this report