Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many sectors of the immigration system have shut down. From interviews to naturalization ceremonies, most in-person services have been suspended. While ICE has announced a similar modification and even reduction of enforcement actions, detention centers throughout the country still hold thousands of immigrants—many of whom are innocent.
With more than 200 detention centers nationwide, the U.S. has the largest detention system in the world—and these centers have earned a reputation for unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Detainees often lack access to proper sleeping accommodations, soap or other hygiene items, and medical treatment. This combination may be devastating during a pandemic, which is why it is more critical than ever before to protect the rights of all human beings.
Furthermore, countless immigrants currently in custody have not committed crimes or immigration violations. In recent years, ICE has conducted raids of homes and job sites, picking up immigrants without due process. The agency has separated families as well, leaving children by themselves in detention centers without their parents.
Fighting for Change
In response to this injustice and the current global crisis, both advocacy groups and state governments are pressuring ICE to adjust protocol, release detainees, and otherwise adhere to guidelines from the CDC. A federal judge in California, for example, has ordered ICE to identify and track detainees with a high risk of complications from COVID-19. Additionally, the judge ordered ICE to increase measures to protect everyone in their facilities from infection and consider releasing high-risk detainees. In mid-April, ICE partially complied with nationwide pressure and released hundreds of people from detention centers.
Thousands still need support, however, and we hope the U.S. government exhibits compassion and common sense by suspending enforcement actions during the pandemic. In the meantime, we urge all those affected by the detention system to reach out for assistance immediately.
Let Us Fight for Your Rights
Unlike the criminal justice system, the immigration system does not provide lawyers for detained immigrants who can’t retain their own. As a result, less than a fifth of all detained immigrants face the judge with an attorney by their side.
If you or a loved one have been detained, our team at The Sekou Clarke Law Group has the requisite skills, resources, and tenacity to preserve your rights and prove your innocence. While COVID-19 has shut down businesses and organizations throughout the country, we are still fully operational because we know how urgent your legal issue may be. Because we want to be as accessible as possible, we also offer consultations and services in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
In cases involving detainment, it is imperative that you get in touch with a qualified attorney immediately. Call (407) 269-8774 for the support you need and deserve today.