IHRC Research Spotlight on COVID-19 in Immigrant Detention Facilities

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The IHRC has recently published a research spotlight on COVID-19 in Immigrant Detention Facilities as part of its Immigrants in COVID America project. Authored by Eunice Kim, a graduate student in the University of Minnesota's History department, this report examines how authorities have acted without any consideration of detainee's health and lives since the beginning of the pandemic.

Key Takeaways:

  • Because immigration detention centers are structurally designed to control and oppress the population within and have extremely limited staff with any medical knowledge that can actually contribute to detainee’s health, they cannot adequately handle the spread of infectious disease.
  • Overcrowded settings place detainees at a higher risk of infection: CDC guidelines are not maintained, including social distancing of 6 feet and the provision of personal protection equipment. The constant transfer of detainees from one detention facility to another make any continuous outside support from families/friends/supporter difficult and contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
  • Even after vaccinations began, detainees were not prioritized in the vaccination rollout plans despite being hit hardest by the pandemic. Detainees are overrepresented by the BIPOC population and people with underlying symptoms.

Download "COVID-19 and the Immigration Detention Industry Complex" here.

And check out the updated Immigrants in COVID America project website which now includes data and reporting up through March of 2021.

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