The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement seeking the release of detained immigrants who pose an especially high risk of contracting the coronavirus.
The organization filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on Monday specifically on behalf of immigrants being held at the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington. The group is seeking the release of people who are at a high risk of severe health complications should they be infected with the coronavirus.
“Immigrant detention centers are institutions that uniquely heighten the danger of disease transmission. In normal circumstances, ICE has proven time and again that it is unable to protect the health and safety of detained people,” Eunice Cho, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s National Prison Project, said in a statement Monday.
“These are not normal circumstances, and the heightened risk of serious harm to people in detention from COVID-19 is clear,” the statement continued. “Public health experts have warned that failing to reduce the number of people detained — and in particular, failing to release those particularly vulnerable to the disease — endangers the lives of everyone in the detention facility, including staff, and the broader community.”
The lawsuit includes testimony from multiple health experts, including Dr. Marc Stern, Dr. Robert Greifinger, and Dr. Jonathan Golob, who address both the overall health crisis of the outbreak as well as the danger it poses to groups who are in close contact with each other.
Washington has been one of the hardest hit states since the outbreak began and was the first to see it spread through the elderly community. Of the 4,600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of Tuesday morning, slightly under one-fifth of them, 908, have occurred in the northwest state. There have been 48 related deaths in Washington and nearly all were tied to the Life Care Center nursing home or four other long-term care facilities nearby.
Author: Mike Brest
Source: Washington Examiner: ALCU sues ICE for release of immigrants ‘particularly vulnerable’ to coronavirus