The American Civil Liberties Union urged the Biden administration to present Covid-19 vaccine entry to immigrants in detention, citing the speedy unfold of coronavirus in congregate settings, according to a letter despatched to the Department of Homeland Security secretary and obtained by NCS.
Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention services wrestled with a rising quantity of optimistic cases, totaling greater than 15,000 confirmed cases and 9 deaths. As of May 25, there are 1,495 optimistic Covid-19 cases in ICE custody, according to agency data.
The ACLU, which filed dozens of lawsuits towards ICE throughout the pandemic, known as the shortage of a vaccine technique for the detained inhabitants a “failure” in a Thursday letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“ICE’s failure to ensure a coordinated strategy for vaccination continues to endanger people in detention nationwide,” the letter reads.
“Meanwhile, COVID-19 outbreaks continue to spread in detention facilities nationwide, risking the health and safety of detainees despite ICE’s duty to protect those in its custody, in violation of their constitutional rights,” it adds.
There are more than 22,000 immigrants in ICE custody.
DHS did not immediately respond to a NCS request for comment.
ICE previously described vaccination procedures in a document titled “COVID-19 Pandemic Response Requirements,” placing the onus on detention services to contact their state’s vaccine useful resource, comparable to the state or nation division of well being, to get hold of vaccines. But solely a restricted quantity have been vaccinated, in half as a result of of the differing precedence steerage throughout states, performing ICE Director Tae Johnson informed lawmakers earlier this month.
As of May 5, 2,707 detainees have acquired no less than one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and 1,229 detainees are absolutely vaccinated, according to Johnson.
Mayorkas said plans to offer Covid-19 vaccines to detainees is “under review.”
But senior staff attorney at the ACLU National Prison Project, Eunice Hyunhye Cho, called the delay “unacceptable.”
“It is a literal matter of life or death,” Cho told NCS. “This was a completely foreseeable issue and ICE has failed to protect people who are in their custody.”