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Demands Grow to Empty ICE Jails as NJ Detention Center Worker Tests Positive

HeadlineMar 20, 2020

In New Jersey, a medical worker at the Elizabeth Immigration Detention Center has tested positive for COVID-19 and has entered self-quarantine. Officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement said one other ICE employee had tested positive elsewhere in the U.S., though the agency declined to say where. In a letter sent to acting ICE Director Matthew Albence Thursday signed by nearly 800 nongovernmental organizations, the Detention Watch Network wrote, “Outbreaks of mumps, scabies and other highly contagious diseases have been documented to spread aggressively in detention facilities. ICE has repeatedly proven to be incapable of adequately responding and providing the proper care for people in its custody, under normal circumstances.”

Meanwhile, imprisoned immigrants and asylum seekers at the Essex County Jail in Newark are on a hunger strike, demanding their immediate release on bond or deportation to their home countries. This comes as a 27-year-old asylum seeker from Honduras has died of an apparent suicide Wednesday while imprisoned by ICE in Texas. His death is the ninth in ICE custody in the 2020 fiscal year.

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