The COVID-19 crisis in the United States has spread wildly in US Immigration Detention facilities, which could and should have been avoided.
On 7 April 2020, Amnesty international issued the report ‘We are adrift, about to sink’: The looming COVID-19 disaster in US Immigration Detention facilities.
The report documented how US immigration detention facilities failed miserably to provide adequate soap and sanitizer, introduce social distancing, and halt unnecessary transfers and deportations of people in and out of those dangerous facilities.
In 2020, the USA has become the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, with well over 6 million confirmed cases and 180,000 deaths.
As of 28 August 2020 – over four months since the Amnesty International report – the number of people who have contracted confirmed cases of COVID-19 in US immigration detention facilities has skyrocketed more than 200-fold, to 5,300 cases (850 of whom remain in detention, and have not been deported). Among those cases are some of the approximately one hundred families held in detention centres, which a US federal judge has said were “on fire” with confirmed cases of COVID-19 due to inadequate protection.