Democrats Ramp Up Pressure on ICE to Release Illegal Detainees Amid Coronavirus

Amid the coronavirus crisis, Democrats are ramping up pressure on ICE to release illegal immigrant detainees.

Thursday Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) tweeted:

It’s time to ring the alarm bell. ICE needs to act now, while there is still time to mitigate the spread of . We have to count every life equally during this crisis and not forget the immigrant community

Progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) also recently tweeted:

We need to release ICE detainees, people held on bail, and anyone qualifies for work release.

We need a moratorium on incarcerating people who are low risk to others.

We need an increase in medical staff in prison and jails.

Incarcerated individuals deserve our humanity too.

Tuesday, the ACLU of Pennsylvania wrote:

VICTORY! A federal court in Harrisburg has ruled that our clients in immigration detention must be released today, to lower their risk of contracting COVID-19. The message to ICE is clear: release people now who are at risk of getting sick or dying.

The Hispanic Caucus tweeted last week:

ICE is not equipped to deal with the complex medical needs of vulnerable migrants during the coronavirus crisis. DHS must release all low-priority detainees NOW, before another person dies due to their negligence

Per the NYPost, the Trump administration is facing a looming deadline to figure out whether it will continue to hold illegal immigrant detainees at migrant detention centers amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus.

Over the weekend, a federal judge ordered the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to either release illegal migrant minors in their custody or explain why they must remain detained amid the virus outbreak.

The judge also warned that ICE officials will be given a week to show the court that three specific family detention centers are providing adequately hygienic conditions for migrants being housed there.

The judge described conditions at those centers as “hotbeds of contagion.”

Both agencies have an April 10 deadline to deliver on the judge’s request. If the agencies fail to do so, the judge said she would order the release of about 3,400 minors to either family members in the US or foster care.

The court’s decision comes as the Trump administration faces calls from Democrats and immigrant activists to release the migrant detainees.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) began advocating last week for releasing all ICE detainees who are nonviolent to prevent the virus’ spread.

“We need to release ICE detainees, people held on bail, and anyone qualifies for work release,” the “Squad” member tweeted last Tuesday.

The Minnesota progressive added that the US needs “a moratorium on incarcerating people who are low risk to others,” as well as an “increase in medical staff in prison and jails” as the virus causes a national crisis and economic catastrophe.

Omar also penned a letter to House leadership calling for protections for refugees, immigrants and those seeking asylum to be included in any future coronavirus legislation.

“We request an additional $350 million in Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) funds for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) within the State Department, as well as an additional $462 million in Refugee and Entrant Assistance (REA) funds for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the Dep’t of Health and Human Services (HHS) for resettlement services,” Omar wrote.