The Nation: In ICE Detention, Forced to Pay for Soap

“At this point, the coronavirus has infected hundreds of thousands of Americans and killed over 50,000. One of the CDC’s most basic guidelines for avoiding COVID-19 is, of course, frequently washing one’s hands. Robyn Barnard, an asylum attorney in Southern California, says that her client contacted her and asked her to put money in his commissary so he could buy soap to wash his hands. Julie Schwietert Collazo, the director of Immigrant Families Together, says that she’s gotten requests for commissary fund grants from detained immigrants across the South who tell her they don’t have “even basic hygiene items.” Natalia Santanna, an immigration attorney based in the Bay Area, says that her clients are rationed some soap each week, but not nearly enough to wash their hands as frequently as the CDC recommends. “If they don’t pay for it from commissary, they can’t wash their hands.” And in New York, Sophia Gurulé, an immigration lawyer who serves as immigration policy counsel for the Bronx Defenders, says her organization has noted the same thing.”

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