After months of lobbying from advocates, immigrants detained in California are now eligible to receive a vaccine


“Nationwide, ICE’s plans to vaccinate the roughly 14,000 people in its custody caused confusion,” Mother Jones mentioned Advance in this month. “ICE often implicit It is up to states to provide vaccines for detained migrants. Meanwhile, states have often assumed that ICE is handling vaccines. ”Amid these bureaucratic accusations, there are people being held in facilities. Which has been suffering from some of the worst outbreaks in the country.

“Coronavirus has engulfed all seven detention centers in California, infecting more than 600 people held in facilities since the start of the pandemic,” KQED said. “ More than a dozen detainees diagnosed with COVID-19 are currently in isolation or are being monitored, according to the ICE. Numbers. ” Indeed, A recent report said Migrants in detention are 13 times more likely to contract the virus than the general population.

Advocates Send state officials a second letter At the end of January after not receiving any response. “In addition, ICE appears to have committed to vaccinating its employees as well as those working in detention facilities, without presenting any plan to vaccinate detainees, ”immigrant defense attorneys and California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice noted in the second letter.

Organizations He said in a statement this week Which – which “[w]While we commend California policymakers in providing individuals with access to a life-saving vaccine, we must remain vigilant in action to ensure that the distribution of vaccines while in custody does not serve as a basis for expanding or detaining individuals for long periods, and should not be used as a substitute for freeing individuals from harsh detention facilities. This is unjust and unnecessary. ”

Both migrants’ rights advocates have Public health experts criticized Cruel and ongoing detention of migrants amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. It was ICE’s refusal to only allow detained migrants to take refuge in their homes and communities that was responsible for the nation’s numbers of hundreds of thousands of cases. One report was found. But while California’s move is a victory for human rights, incarcerated migrants remain vulnerable elsewhere.

Only this month, A New York federal judge criticized the officials To continue to fail to protect immigrants held in the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, Another large eruption site. Officials there claimed that they were unable to obtain vaccinations from state health officials. But when the advocates suggested booking external appointments that ICE could then take them to (ICE already does on certain medical appointments), officials refused. “You don’t do anything to get vaccinated.” Mother Jones Reports Judge Lawrence Villardo told officials. “Nothing. Zero.”

“Delays and confusion in providing access to vaccine to this population is a reflection of how little they have appeared in our political process,” Director of Immigrant Defense Policy Jackie Gonzalez She said. Human rights defenders said they would continue to press for more details about officials’ plans. “We will continue to fight to ensure that they are not excluded from any equity and access discussions. California should continue to lead on this issue, as a country we need to do better. “

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