Tag: medically

Other News

ACLU files class action lawsuit against ICE, demands boosters for medically vulnerable immigrants

“It’s shameful that yet again, the ACLU has to sue ICE to provide basic care for people in detention,” said ACLU of D.C. Senior Counsel Arthur B. Spitzer. “Booster shots are a necessity for people in crowded housing conditions and are readily available. There’s no excuse for ICE’s failure to provide them.”

There’s no excuse, but ICE has certainly tried to make up excuses to deny detained people care. Aamir Shaikh, one of the five plaintiffs named in the Jan. 31 litigation, said he was repeatedly denied a booster despite being eligible. “The staff at Etowah have either ignored his requests or told him that he would not receive a booster shot until the State of Alabama ‘approved them’ at an unspecified date in the future,” the complaint said.

The ACLU and ACLU of D.C. said ICE has provided just over 1,400 boosters through Feb. 21 despite having a population ranging anywhere from 18,800 to 22,000 people at any one time. Plaintiffs named in the new litigation have a range of conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to severe illness or death should they contract the virus. The litigation would force ICE to extend boosters to all medically vulnerable people and people ages 55 or older.

“Despite knowing that ICE detains a large number of people who are medically vulnerable to serious illness and death from COVID-19, and despite knowing that booster shots provide critically important protection against the virus, Defendants have failed to ensure that people in their custody nationwide can receive booster shots in accordance with CDC guidance,” the complaint said. “As of this date, they have failed to develop any plan to ensure that all eligible people in ICE custody nationwide can obtain COVID-19 booster shots.”

Nor does ICE have any policy in place to ensure eligible people in 200 facilities across the U.S. are identified and protected, the lawsuit said.

“Defendants’ failure to provide COVID-19 booster shots in accordance with CDC guidance to eligible individuals in ICE detention nationwide places Plaintiffs and putative class members at an unreasonable risk of serious illness and death and constitutes unlawful punishment of the putative class, which consists of civil immigrant detainees,” the complaint continued. 

Immigrants shouldn’t be in detention at all, particularly during a pandemic. But if ICE continues to refuse to release greater numbers of people, it should at least the very least protect them against this virus. But not even that appears to be happening.

“COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly throughout ICE detention centers, threatening the lives of people detained nationwide,” said ACLU National Prison Project Senior Staff Attorney Eunice Cho. “ICE officials have known for months that they must provide booster shots to people in detention, but have failed to do so. ICE’s callous failure to provide this necessary protection is cruel and unconstitutional.”

RELATED: ‘Requests have been simply ignored’: ACLU sues ICE for refusing to boost detained immigrants

RELATED: DHS medical experts again sound alarm about risky ICE detention, urge access to boosters

RELATED: ICE blocked from re-detaining immigrants freed from two California facilities due to pandemic

Source link