Immigrants Released from ICE Detention in Federal COVID-19 Lawsuit Brought by Human Rights First in California

Los Angeles, CA – A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted release to four immigrants who were detained in Adelanto ICE Processing Center and therefore at risk of contracting COVID-19 after a suit for their release was brought by Human Rights First along with co-counsel from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. The four plaintiffs, all women with underlying health conditions, were released to family members and friends. They will now be able to practice social distancing and other precautionary measures not feasible in detention.

“We’re glad that the District Court ruled in favor of our clients and in the interest of public health,” said Jenna Gilbert, managing attorney of Human Rights First in Los Angeles. “We filed this suit because the Department of Homeland Security and the operators of Adelanto utterly failed to protect immigrants detained at this facility, as well as the public who are exposed through community spread. It is a victory that these immigrants have been released, but we call on the Trump Administration, DHS, state governors, and public health officials to act immediately to parole and release all eligible immigrants. We are grateful that this suit has resulted in increased safety for our clients, but it shouldn’t take the intervention of the courts to protect immigrants in civil detention and the communities where facilities are located.”

Human Rights First has, in recent weeks, urged state and local governments, including Gov. Newsom of California, to release those held in ICE custody. But ICE continues to detain vulnerable individuals in conditions ripe for the spread of disease, even in detention centers where staff and/or other detainees have already tested positive for COVID-19.

Human Rights First has also filed a similar suit with co-counsel from Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, on behalf of ten plaintiffs detained at the Essex County Correctional Facility and the Elizabeth Detention Center.


Published on April 10, 2020


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