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Coronavirus scare hits ICE facility in New Jersey jail as first detainee tests positive

Coronavirus scare hits ICE facility in New Jersey jail as first detainee tests positive, endangering thousands at the facility

  • A 37-year-old Mexican immigrant being detained by ICE at the Bergen County Jail has tested positive for coronavirus
  • Patient has been isolated from other detainees and is receiving medical care 
  • Bergen County Jail currently detains dozens of undocumented immigrants
  • An officer at the Bergen County Jail and a medical staffer at an ICE detention center in nearby Elizabeth, New Jersey also tested position for coronavirus
  • Former ICE acting director John Sandweg recently told CBS News,’You have the exact situation everyone is cautioning against’
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

A detainee being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement has tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday, risking the safety of thousands of other people inside the facility.

A 37-year-old Mexican immigrant being held at the Bergen County Jail, which houses dozens of other undocumented migrants. The patient has been quarantined and is receiving medical care, according to ICE officials.

Bergen County Jail houses dozens of undocumented migrants but ICE says it will suspend transferring detainees to the facility for the time being. Anyone who has been exposed to the virus will be monitored for coronavirus symptoms.

A 37-year-old Mexican undocumented immigrant tested positive for coronavirus at Bergen County Jail, which house ICE detainees

A 37-year-old Mexican undocumented immigrant tested positive for coronavirus at Bergen County Jail, which house ICE detainees

ICE will stop arresting undocumented immigrants who don't pose a 'threat to public safety'

ICE will stop arresting undocumented immigrants who don’t pose a ‘threat to public safety’

Activists have called on ICE to release undocumented immigrants over age 60, pregnant women, and those with chronic health conditions

Activists have called on ICE to release undocumented immigrants over age 60, pregnant women, and those with chronic health conditions

Currently, ICE has more than 37,000 undocumented immigrants detained, but the agency has not announced plans to release an detainees

Currently, ICE has more than 37,000 undocumented immigrants detained, but the agency has not announced plans to release an detainees

On Sunday, the Hudson County Corrections and Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey went on lockdown after two inmates also tested positive for coronavirus. This facility also holds ICE detainees but the coronavirus patients are not undocumented immigrants. 

ICE has already announced it will stop arresting undocumented immigrants unless they present a ‘threat to public safety’, after receiving criticism from civil rights groups like the ACLU. 

Currently, ICE currently has more than 37,000 immigrants detained.

Medical and legal professionals, along with activists also call for ICE to reduce that number, by releasing undocumented immigrants over age 60, pregnant women, and those with chronic health conditions, to keep them safe from potential coronavirus infection.  

So far, ICE has ignored that request. But the agency says they have coordinated with government agencies around the country to slow coronavirus among detainees.

‘ICE continues to incorporate CDC’s COVID-19 guidance, which is built upon the already established infectious disease monitoring and management protocols currently in use by the agency,’ the ICE site reads. ‘In addition, ICE is actively working with state and local health partners to determine if any detainee requires additional testing or monitoring to combat the spread of the virus.’  

On Monday, three staff members working at two New York facilities that detain undocumented immigrant children have tested positive for coronavirus, according to CBS News. Overall, the Office of Refugee Resettlement watch after roughly 3,600 unaccompanied minors. 

Former ICE acting director John Sandweg recently told CBS News, ‘It’s a vulnerable situation.’

He added, ‘You have the exact situation everyone is cautioning against. You have a bunch of people contained in a very small environment.’ 

As a precaution to slow the spread of coronavirus, the Department of Homeland Security has delayed hearings for migrants in Mexico seeking asylum in the United States. That includes any hearings scheduled through April 22. 

An officer at the Bergen County Jail and a medical staffer at an ICE detention center in nearby Elizabeth, New Jersey also tested position for coronavirus.  

The number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey continue to rise as nearly 3,700 in the state have tested positive for the virus. That includes 44 deaths.

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Written by Angle News

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