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Asylum Seekers Protest in Immigration Jails as COVID-19 Deaths Mount

HeadlineApr 16, 2020

In the United States, the privately owned Otay Mesa Detention Center near San Diego has become the U.S. immigration jail with the largest coronavirus outbreak as at least 17 immigrant prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, according to documents obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune.

In Tacoma, Washington, immigrants imprisoned at the Northwest Detention Center have launched another hunger strike — the third in just three weeks. Prisoners held a protest Wednesday in the facility’s yard, forming the letters ”SOS” with their bodies, as they continue to demand their release.

Meanwhile, a federal magistrate judge in Miami has ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to disclose how many of its third-party contractors have tested positive for COVID-19. ICE reportedly hid this information, as the agency claimed third-party contractors were not considered staff.

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