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Thompson, Rice Call on ICE to Seek Alternatives to Detention for Migrants

April 01, 2020

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Subcomittee on Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations, released the following statement calling on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to increase the use of alternatives for detention for migrants during the coronavirus outbreak. As of monday, there are at least four detainees who tested positive for COVID-19 in ICE detention facilities, and 33 ICE personnel have also tested positive. Additionally, multiple federal judges have ruled for the release of detained immigrants due to health and safety concerns.

“We are calling on ICE to increase the use of alternatives to detention for immigrants in their care during this growing pandemic. This is not only for the health of these immigrants, but also for the health of the DHS frontline workforce and the general public.  It is clear that ICE detention facilities, including local and privately contracted facilities, are unable to properly follow CDC standards set to combat the spread of the coronavirus.  Without action, these facilities will inevitably become breeding grounds for the virus. It is imperative that we all work together to mitigate and contain COVID-19. Therefore, we urge ICE to expand utilization of their alternatives to detention for detainees determined to pose a low risk to communities to further mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. ICE must do its part to protect their workforce, immigrants, and our communities during this troubling time.”

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