City Limits: Opinion: ICE Detention Facilities Have Failed to Protect People from COVID-19

“As COVID-19 continues to devastate the country, we have witnessed the failure of Immigration Customs & Enforcement (ICE) to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus in our local jails.

It is hard to imagine a government agency less equipped to address the COVID-19 pandemic than ICE. Even under “normal” circumstances before the pandemic,  ICE proved itself incapable of safeguarding the people in its custody, with dozens of people dying in their custody with no apparent political consequences. This is an agency that continues to incarcerate children and parents for the sole fact that they were born outside the country. Just a month before the outbreak in New York, ICE shot a man in the face in Brooklyn while effectuating a civil arrest; an egregious, violent escalation that resulted in no accountability or remorse by the agency.  Even as the COVID-19 pandemic was on the rise in New York, and despite knowing the health risks inherent to any carceral setting, ICE continued to make civil arrests and shuttle people throughout jail facilities in upstate New York and New Jersey. The first person to test positive in ICE custody nationwide was incarcerated in an ICE jail across the Hudson River.”

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