Yahoo: ICE Arrests Need To Stop NOW To Prevent The Spread Of Coronavirus

Thankfully, there are some courageous lawyers in New York City who are fighting to change this dangerous status quo. They join the ranks of prominent organizations like the ACLU who filed suit against ICE on Monday for the release of nine detainees held at a Washington state detention center who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. This current suit is part of a larger effort that will push for more prisoner releases and a national closure of immigration courts, which are believed to be breeding grounds for the coronavirus.

The Bronx Defenders, Brooklyn Defender Services, and the Legal Aid Society comprise New York City’s defender organizations, and they are providing free legal representation to detained immigrants through the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP). These incredible advocates are calling on ICE to release all people in their custody at detention facilities in the NYC area, so they can self-quarantine at home with their families. They are also requesting that ICE temporarily stop the aggressive and unnecessary arrest raids of immigrants in the tristate area and postpone appointments for people placed under ICE-supervised release. Their goal is simple and two-fold – to help immediately prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to protect the human rights of the people in these centers.

“The risk is that the virus will spread quickly in confined, dirty spaces, and many more people will get sick and even die than would have if these people could isolate at home with their families,” says Andrea Sáenz, Attorney-in-Charge of NYIFUP.  “Our local ICE office simply rents space from county jails [and] cannot ‘distance’ people at all… Tens of thousands of people could become sick, and we can stop it.”

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