House Democrats have used the coronavirus outbreak to demand the Department of Homeland Security release illegal aliens from detention.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal joined other Democratic colleagues to demand that acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf take action to protect the immigrant community and detained illegal aliens from COVID-19.
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“In times of a public health crisis, it is imperative that we protect the most vulnerable and remove barriers to care for all, including fears of enforcement that prevent immigrant communities from seeking care,” Jayapal wrote. “COVID-19 does not discriminate based on nationality, citizenship status, or any other characteristic, and our federal agencies must respond accordingly.”
Washingtonexaminer.com reports: ICE announced last week it would scale back some operations because of the outbreak of the virus.
Localities across the country have commuted the sentences of some inmates or released nonviolent offenders in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, which has led to the death of nearly 600 as of Monday afternoon.
ICE has committed to not making any arrests at medical facilities after immigrant rights groups argued sick migrants might not seek out treatment for fear of being detained.
The letter was delivered just days after Rep. Ilhan Omar led 14 other Democrats in calling for ICE to halt deportations because of the coronavirus.
“Deporting people who may have been exposed to coronavirus to either countries that have few or no cases or to countries with weak health care infrastructure is an unacceptable risk to take,” that letter said.
“We also need to ensure immigrants don’t prioritize government-mandated, court-related requirements over the public health recommendations to stay home,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal said in this week’s letter. “The Trump Administration must act.”