Friday, July 3, 2020

Immigrant children released from ICE detention centers due to pandemic

What is ICE detention?

ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is an agency that is part of the US Department of Homeland Security. It was established in the year 2003. ICE detention centers hold immigrants who are suspected of visa violation or illegitimate entry. Subjects who are undergoing the process of deportation or removal from the country are also detained here.

2,500 immigrants tested positive for COVID-19

Judge Dolly M. Gee, District of California, ordered the release of immigrant children held across three family detention homes, saying ‘there is no more time for half measures.’ Following the second major surge of cases, more than 2,500 immigrants have been tested positive. The judge ruled that the children be released from centers in Pennsylvania and the state of Texas. She added that they should be let go at an ‘all deliberate speed’ to reduce the risk of spread. According to Dailymail, “The family residential centers are on fire, and there is no more time for half measures,” she wrote in the ruling. The numbers tote up to more than 20 percent of the total immigrants who are held back.

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Immigrant families are seen at ICE South Texas Family Residential Center. | Image: Daily mail

Gee scathingly criticized the Trump administration for not providing proper facilities and precautions. She ruled that all the 126 (ages 1 to 17) children be released by July 17 to their enlisted guardian residing in the US. Peter Schey, a defender of immigrant youth, said that “Some detained parents facing deportation brought their children to this country to save them from rampant violence in their home countries and would prefer to see their child released to relatives here rather than being deported with the parent to countries where children are routinely kidnapped, beaten and killed.”

“The administration must stop using this public health crisis as a means for implementing unlawful and inhumane immigration policies, ‘In these extraordinary times, human suffering need not be compounded by locking up families or instilling fear in the hearts of migrant parents.'” the letter from the Democrats read.

The COVID-19 cases are on a constant rise, with more than 125,000 deaths. ICE is trying to reduce its number to avoid the risk of infection spread and has released over 900 people.

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