A federal judge has ordered government officials to immediately shrink the detainee population at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in San Bernardino County so detainees would be able to practice social distancing amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
‘Starting this coming Monday, U.S. ICE officials must begin to reduce the facility's population by at least 50 detainees each day, either by releasing or deporting them, until there are 475 people or less housed there, Senior U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter Jr. said in an order issued Thursday’ as reported by the Desert Sun.
The Adelanto facility, which is capable of holding 1.940 detainees is one of the largest ICE detention centers in the country and housed 772 detainees as of Oct. 5, according to ICE.
The order comes amid a months-long court battle over the health and safety of people detained at Adelanto amid the pandemic. Despite the rate of death among detainees in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody who have tested positive for the coronavirus is significantly lower than the fatality rate among the general U.S. population who get sick according to the Washington Examiner.
The Desert Sun concluded with a statement from the plaintiffs in the case:
Jessica Bansal, a senior attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California who is representing the Adelanto detainees, celebrated the order.
“Eight months into the pandemic, over 700 people remain imprisoned for civil immigration violations in an over-crowded jail where basic protective measures are impossible and dozens fall ill with COVID-19 each day,” she said in a statement. “Today’s order confirms that our Constitution does not condone such basic disregard for human lives and safety.”
‘ICE does not comment on pending litigation proceedings or outcomes, agency spokesperson Alexx Pons said in a statement. He said ICE legal experts review and evaluate all decisions received from courts and the agency complies with binding orders.’
For the complete story, please visit the Desert Sun.
Updated: Fri, Oct 30th 2020 @ 9:45am EDT