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 DHS Secretary Mayorkas must free people from ICE detention and ensure their wellbeing

15,830 people detained by ICE

As of 4/23/21


“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


at least 12,947 people contracted COVID-19 in ICE detention

As of 4/29/21


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

Spouse of an individual detained in Colorado


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

As of 4/29/21


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

Pregnant mother detained in Texas

NO ONE SHOULD BE LOCKED UP IN DANGER

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.

TAKE QUICK ACTION

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 NOW. bit.ly/FreePeopleNow

HAVE A BIT MORE TIME?

DIVE DEEPER

#free maura

Maura fled to the US from Mexico to escape relentless transgender-based violence and abuse. Originally from Nicaragua, she spent half her life in the US, attending high school in San Diego, working in hospitality, and building a community that accepts her.  

While experiencing homelessness, Maura was arrested for defending herself from a man who was harassing her. She’s now been locked up by ICE for almost two years in the Otay Mesa Detention Center in California, where she faces abuse and inadequate medical care. 

Every day she remains locked up is another day the US is placing her in danger. Demand ICE to #FreeMaura now! 

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Maura escaped violence & abuse against her as a trans woman in Mexico and is seeking humanitarian protection in the US. She’s been locked up by @ICEgov for nearly two years in California, when she should be free to seek protection without detention. #FreeMaura bit.ly/FreeMaura

have a bit more time?

make freedom the norm

The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act is a historic bill that makes detention the exception – not the rule – and mainstream community-based programs as an alternative to detention. This visionary legislation would end mandatory detention, eliminate the use of for-profit facilities, and protect parents, caregivers and people who are at-risk from the threat of detention.  

Your elected officials need to hear from you, their constituents, on how championing this bill would bring this country to a more just and humane immigration system. Raise your voice now! 

TAKE QUICK ACTION

The Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act addresses the unjust detention of immigrants & asylum-seekers and would transform the system to treat people with the dignity & respect they deserve and human rights demand. @(your Senators and Rep’s handles) & @POTUS must make it into law. bit.ly/PassDignity

DIVR DEEPER

#EndFamilyDetention Once and For All

Congress just introduced the Freedom for Families Act, a critical bill that prohibits ICE From detaining families and shuts down these facilities for good. It’s an important companion to the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act that would transform the current immigration detention system. 

Children should be able to grow up and live in freedom with their families as they pursue the right to seek safety, but we need your help calling on elected officials to make that a reality by supporting this bill! 

TAKE QUICK ACTION

Children should be able to grow up and live in freedom with their families as they pursue the right to seek safety here@(your Senators and Rep’s handles) & @POTUS must #EndFamilyDetention and pass the Freedom For Families Act nowbit.ly/Freedom4Families 

IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD

Over 12,000 people contracted COVID-19 while detained by ICE, and at least nine people held in immigration detention died as a result. 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.

TAKE QUICK ACTION

DIVE DEEPER

YOUR ACTIVISM MATTERS

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 from detention in Colorado. 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.”

Juana* and Norma* (4), Marilin* and Yunior* (11), Karla* and Katherin* (15), and Paola* and Jose* (1) fled from horrific abuse, violence, and threats to their lives in their countries of origin. Instead of finding safety in the US, they were thrown into the Dilley family detention facility in Texas, where there was inadequate access to care as their health and wellbeing suffered and they faced heightened risk of contracting COVID-19. Finally, after being locked up for months and some even over a yearthey were released due to the persistent advocacy of their attorneys at Proyecto Dilley and sustained activism from Amnesty supporters.  

Pastor Steven, an ordained minister from Uganda, has been freed! While locked up for over two years in Texas, his health severely deteriorated under ICE’s watch and he faced constant threats and fears of removal. Collective pressure from Angry Tias and Abuelas, Haitian Bridge Alliance, Texas Civil Rights Project, Afripac, and Amnesty 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 attorneys, sponsor, Amnesty activists and coalition partners, Pastor Steven can now finally fight for his right to pursue asylum in safety and freedom.

“Freedom is an invaluable part of life that is priceless. Freedom often goes unnoticed until it’s taken away from you. I feel like a newborn baby; it’s as if I have been introduced to a new world altogether. I lived behind closed doors, was discriminated against and restricted, without privacy, as well as disrespected and my concerns disregarded on tension of rules. I experienced threats of deportation and so much more. But to wake up one morning free was like a dream.”

Alida* sought safety in the US after years of physical and sexual abuse that was so severe, an immigration judge found it amounted to tortureShe was locked up by ICE for months in Pennsylvania, even after she was granted protection under the Convention Against Torture. Thanks to her relentless attorneys at ALDEA – The People’s Justice Center and activism from Amnesty that helped shine a bright light on her story, she has finally been freed!