Covid-19 has been rapidly spreading through jails and detention centers, where people remain particularly vulnerable to the disease’s transmission thanks to crowded conditions and poor access to medical care. As cases surge in immigration detention facilities, American Oversight is suing Immigration and Customs Enforcement for records related to grievances filed at various centers since March.
In the last week, the number of positive cases at one ICE facility in Arizona more than quintupled, and asylum-seeking migrants at another ICE facility in the currently hard-hit state have said they were forced to clean the center as it experienced its own outbreak.
In early May, American Oversight filed a Freedom of Information Act request with ICE, seeking any formal written or emergency grievances filed at six different facilities since March 1, as well as any documents containing final adjudications. The facilities in question are California’s Otay Mesa Detention Center, New York’s Buffalo Federal Detention Facility, Louisiana’s Alexandria Staging Facility, Georgia’s Stewart Detention Center, New Jersey’s Elizabeth Contract Detention Center, and Florida’s Krome Service Processing Center.
Thursday’s lawsuit seeks to compel ICE to release those records. Last month, we also sued the Trump administration for documents regarding the federal government’s efforts to protect people in prisons and detention centers, including any directives or risk assessments from various agencies.
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