U.S. immigration officials spread coronavirus with detainee transfers

Mica Rosenberg, Kristina Cooke, Reade Levinson | Reuters

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Public health specialists have for months warned the U.S. government that shuffling detainees among immigration detention centers will expose people to COVID-19 and help spread the disease.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has continued the practice, saying it is taking all necessary precautions.

It turns out the health specialists were right, according to a Reuters review of court records and ICE data.


“ICE’s practice of transferring detainees while the COVID-19 pandemic is at its height is reckless and unnecessary. These captive populations are particularly vulnerable to the virus by virtue of crowded living conditions and limited access to sanitary products, on top of that many carriers are asymptomatic or not showing symptoms yet when they are transferred to a different facility. What is needed is a  common sense, humane approach is to the treatment of ICE detainees, many of whom are not criminals and are simply detained for jurisdictional reasons, such as parole from these facilities to the custody of family members, with regular check ins, rather than prolonged detention and exposure to a deadly virus such as this.” ~Darius Amiri, Chair of Immigration Department at Rose Law Group