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Inside ICE Detention During the Coronavirus Outbreak: ‘This Will Be a Graveyard’

First, an entire dorm of immigrant detainees at the South Louisiana ICE Processing Center was locked down after one of them showed symptoms of COVID-19. But the guards never explained what was happening, and they routinely walked into the dorms without wearing gloves or other protective gear. Eventually, several dorms in the complex were locked…

Inside ICE Detention During the Coronavirus Outbreak: ‘This Will Be a Graveyard’

First, an entire dorm of immigrant detainees at the South Louisiana ICE Processing Center was locked down after one of them showed symptoms of COVID-19. But the guards never explained what was happening, and they routinely walked into the dorms without wearing gloves or other protective gear. Eventually, several dorms in the complex were locked down.

“I think that if it hit here, a lot of people with underlying situations like me — we won’t make it,” said a detainee with chronic respiratory and heart problems.

At ICE facilities across the country, there’s a sense of panic or desperation as the coronavirus pandemic spreads. As of April 1, there were 11 confirmed cases among immigrant detainees and staff at ICE detention facilities.

Thousands of medical and legal professionals have asked ICE to release detainees en masse, beginning, at minimum, with those most vulnerable to complications from COVID-19.

In some cases, ICE has released small groups of detainees, mostly in response to orders from federal courts. But the vast majority of the more than 35,000 people in ICE detention remain locked up in facilities that are indistinguishable from prisons.

In some facilities, detainees are rising up against what they see as inadequate measures to protect them. At the Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center in Louisiana, a group of Cuban asylum-seekers staged a protest, demanding to be either released or deported — “because they didn’t come here to die,” a fellow Cuban detainee said. They were pepper-sprayed by detention center staff and, according to the detainee, some were placed in solitary confinement. (Neither ICE nor GEO Group, the private prison company that runs both Louisiana facilities, responded to VICE News’ requests for comment.)

“There isn’t any type of medical care in this prison,” another detainee said. “If that sickness lands here, this will be a graveyard.”

VICE News talked to detainees at several facilities. and here’s more of what we found.

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Federal judge rules Cuccinelli appointment unlawful

Because Cuccinelli’s USCIS position was designated initially as “first assistant” to the USCIS director, the Trump administration reasoned that Cuccinelli could become acting chief under a provision of the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act. But Moss wrote th…

Federal judge rules Cuccinelli appointment unlawful

Because Cuccinelli’s USCIS position was designated initially as “first assistant” to the USCIS director, the Trump administration reasoned that Cuccinelli could become acting chief under a provision of the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act.
But Moss wrote th…
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The fighter pilot takes on the astronaut: McSally’s 2020 Arizona mission

In Gilbert, a town of more than 200,000 people outside Phoenix, McSally satdown to talk local issues with the mayor outside a bustling coffee shop in the mild winter warmth before taking a walking tour of the small downtown, hitting up a few local spots to ha…

The fighter pilot takes on the astronaut: McSally’s 2020 Arizona mission

In Gilbert, a town of more than 200,000 people outside Phoenix, McSally satdown to talk local issues with the mayor outside a bustling coffee shop in the mild winter warmth before taking a walking tour of the small downtown, hitting up a few local spots to ha…
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Italy Set to Approve $442 Million Loan to Keep Alitalia Flying

Italy Set to Approve $442 Million Loan to Keep Alitalia Flying

Italy Set to Approve $442 Million Loan to Keep Alitalia Flying
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