Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are demanding the Trump administration, specifically the Immigration, Customs, and Enforcement (ICE) agency release detainees amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The release, they argue, would prevent the coronavirus outbreak in prisons and detention facilities.
• Murderers• Other violent criminals
• Child abusers
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) April 1, 2020
As NBC News reports, Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro plainly demanded: “ICE must release all detainees now before lives are lost.”
Democratic Congresswoman Linda Sánchez said furthering the crisis is preventable, but “we need ICE to act.”
Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in the federal government’s coronavirus response, consideration should be given to the detainee’s health and safety.
“This is a humanitarian crisis that is right on our doorstep,” the New York Democrat said per the report. “A decision to do nothing is a decision to do harm.”
Caucus members emphasized that conditions inside ICE facilities are likely to lead to an outbreak, noting that living conditions prevent social distancing and don’t allow detained people to wash their hands frequently and that hygiene and disinfecting products are not available.
Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, said ICE officials should release nonviolent detainees who present no threat to the public, family members, an attorney or sponsors.
In a statement, Garcia said ICE has had issues with crowding and containing outbreaks in the past. She added that ICE depends on local medical facilities to treat detainees. Such facilities in some parts of the country are struggling to keep up with coronavirus cases and are strapped for protective gloves, masks and ventilators; they are also delaying some procedures to accommodate the coronavirus caseloads.
ICE is not equipped to deal with the complex medical needs of vulnerable migrants during the coronavirus crisis. DHS must release all low-priority detainees NOW, before another person dies due to their negligence.https://t.co/nNrekP6C3n
— Hispanic Caucus (@HispanicCaucus) March 28, 2020