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September 17, 2020

Nearly Half of Those Tested Are Positive for the Virus

LOS ANGELES — According to government documents revealed yesterday, there has been a major outbreak of COVID-19 at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center. Of 80 jailed immigrants tested, 38 have already tested positive, with an undisclosed number of results “still pending.”

The documents were provided by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in response to a request made by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California based on concerns reported by the immigrants. The tests were done on people in two dorms at the center run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that had reported COVID-19 cases.

Last night the ACLU SoCal and the law firm Latham & Watkins filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles an emergency request for a temporary restraining order. It calls for:

  • Immediate testing of all people held at the Adelanto center.
  • The use of a “rapid” test that gives results in hours rather than days.
  • Medical isolation of people confirmed as positive.
  • Medical isolation of people whose test results are pending.

The filing also asks for far more disclosure on testing and conditions at the Adelanto center. The lawyers had previously asked for DHS to test everyone held at the facility and the release of medically vulnerable individuals.

“We have argued for months that the government’s response to COVID-19 was putting the lives of immigrants held there at great risk,” said Jessica Bansal, senior staff attorney at the ACLU SoCal. “We urge all actors — including the federal government, the state of California, and the federal courts — to take the steps needed to protect these individuals from this deadly disease.”

Read the court filing here: