Florence Project And Others Sue ICE To Release 8 People Vulnerable To COVID-19

Published: Thursday, April 2, 2020 - 4:05pm
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The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project and other groups want a federal judge to order the release of eight people with chronic medical conditions from detention.

The lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement says most of them are being held at the La Palma Correctional Center, where federal authorities have confirmed a case of COVID-19. The rest are being held at the nearby Eloy Detention Center. Many are asylum seekers. They all have health problems such as HIV, diabetes and asthma. And they all have sponsors willing to take them in.

Advocacy attorney Laura Belous said the Florence Project asked ICE to release them weeks ago.  

“It’s really gotten to the point where we had to file this petition to urge the government to do the right thing. And that for us is just really, really alarming,” said Belous.

Belous said ICE has let go a few people with health conditions but it’s not moving fast enough to protect others for whom getting COVID-19 would likely be a death sentence.

Citing policy, ICE declined to comment on pending litigation.

Daily life in a detention facility means being exposed to germs from hundreds or even thousands of people, Belous said.

“And I think that the government has really put these people in an incredibly dangerous situation that’s not necessary,” she said.

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