As the world continues to cope with the COVID-19 pandemicthousands of immigrants and asylum-seekers detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have been left behind in danger.  

Conditions in detention are notoriously known to lack adequate medical care and are dangerously overcrowded, making them tinderboxes for the spread of COVID-19. Black and brown people make up the overwhelming majority of those detained and have long faced added discrimination and other abuses at the hands of ICE. For-profit detention further fuels human rights abuses, and the vast majority of people in ICE custody are locked up in facilities owned or managed by private prison corporations.

People in detention have have ties to family, faith and other communities in the U.S. who could safely house them if they were released. 

President Biden and his administration must free people, including all families, from ICE detention in his first 100 days.

14,347 people detained by ICE

As of 2/19/2021

“We are adrift, about to sink, because if there is one person to be infected, in our unit we would all perish…”

Detained individual on hunger strike in Washington

9,588 people contracted COVID-19 in ICE detention

As of 2/24/2021

“These guys are sitting ducks for contracting COVID-19.”

Spouse of an individual detained in Colorado

123 of over 200 immigration detention facilities had confirmed cases of COVID-19

As of 2/24/2021

“I fear me, my daughter, and my unborn fetus will die if we become sick in detention.

Pregnant mother detained in Texas


Leaders seeking to advance racial justice and prevent the further spread and devastation of COVID-19 must immediately release detained immigrants and asylum-seekers. Family detention must end once and for all, and the U.S. must stop using private, for-profit prison companies for immigration detention.


Thousands of immigrants and asylum-seekers, most of whom are Black and brown, are unjustly locked up and in danger. Many are held in for-profit detention centers. @amnestyusa and I call on @POTUS @joebiden and @DHSgov @SecMayorkas to free people and all families NOW.




Over 9,500 people contracted COVID-19 while detained by ICE, and at least nine people held in immigration detention died from the virus. The number of positive tests is likely an undercount: research and policy experts estimate the true total may be exponentially higher than figures reported by ICE. Numbers continue to rise, endangering the thousands detained and working in ICE facilities and potentially overwhelming hospital capacity.




Thanks to her tenacious attorneys at National Immigrant Justice Center, our fearless partners at [email protected] Coalition, and Amnesty International’s global movement, Kelly is free! After persevering through nearly three years in detention, where she faced heightened risks due to inadequate measures taken by authorities to protect her and others from COVID-19, she has finally been released. Kelly can now be with her vast community of friends who’ve been waiting to welcome her, and continue to advocate for the safety and freedom of her trans siblings in detention. To everyone who has supported her and fought for her freedom, she said:

“Thank you for all the support you have given me, all the strength, all your fight against ICE. They finally accepted my freedom… I’m completely grateful to all the people who have helped me since day one, since day zero that I’ve been fighting for my liberty. I’m infinitely grateful because without your support, this never would have happened.”

Pastor Steven, an ordained minister and human rights activist from Uganda, has been freedWhile locked up for over two yearshis health severely deteriorated under ICE’s watch and he faced constant threats and fears of removal. Collective pressure helped stop his deportation and improve medical care for his diabetes. After receiving a much-needed operation on his eyes, his vision loss has been reversed and he can now read with glasses. With further sustained support and relentless advocacy from his attorneyssponsor, Amnesty activists and coalition partners, Pastor Steven can now finally fight for his right to pursue asylum in safety and freedom.