Awareness - July 12 2021 - We Welcome Refugees

Awareness - July 12 2021

ICE announced it will no longer detain pregnant women

A new memo signed by ICE’s Acting Director Tae Johnson instructs officers to avoid arresting most “pregnant, postpartum, and nursing individuals.” In instances where it is determined that pregnant women must be detained, officers must ensure that they receive proper pre- and post-natal care. A Government Accountability Report published in spring 2020 found that pregnant women were detained by ICE over 4,600 times between 2016 and 2018.

Whistleblower report further confirmed reports of poor conditions at Fort Bliss shelter for unaccompanied children

whistleblower complaint from two federal workers alleges that the shelter was poorly managed, and that their reports to management were ignored. The complaint alleges that the shelter was run using an unskilled private contractor with no experience in working with children. The two whistleblowers, Laurie Elkin and Justin Mulaire, explained that the setup of the tents made it impossible for workers to properly monitor all of the children in their care, and that the contractors in charge blared “painfully loud” music through loudspeakers in the tents. They also reported that the contractors used a bullhorn to wake up the children, and that “multiple U.S. Physicians Health Services doctors had also agreed that the volume of the loudspeakers was likely causing the children hearing damage.”

Other allegations in the report include issues with dirty conditions and foul odors, lack of proper reporting, discouragement of reporting issues, and ignoring reports from the workers with concerns. They alleged that HHS failed to respond when the staff reported children were sick or in distress, and that there was inadequate and sloppy case management that delayed the process of releasing children to their sponsors.

Newly released data from DHS revealed that family separations began earlier than initially thought in 2017

While previous data reflected family separations beginning in July 2017, new data shows separations as early as May of that year. From July 1 to December 31, 2017, 234 families were separated in Yuma, Arizona. However we now know that the separations began two months earlier than previously thought, and included children as young as 10 months old. The number of families separated in May and June 2017 is not yet known.

The reports also show that the families affected by these policies were not just from Mexico and Central America, but from nations all over the world: including those as far away as India, Russia, Nigeria, Ireland, and Romania.

CBS News reported that only 5% of ICE detainees have received both COVID shots

While only 1,307 of the 27,000 ICE detainees have received both doses of COVID vaccine, 8,221 have received one dose. By comparison, 54% of the inmates in the Federal Bureau of Prisons have been vaccinated. The disparity is largely due to the fact that ICE depends on state supply for their vaccines rather than having a federal supplier. Therefore results vary widely between detention centers in different states. 

There has been an 82% increase in ICE detainees since Biden took office, and 10,000 cases of COVID have been reported in detention in that time.