Open Borders Groups Use Coronavirus as Excuse to Demand Release of ICE Detainees in Local Custody
By David Jaroslav | FAIR Take | April 2020
Across the country, many organizations pushing open borders have rapidly latched on to the COVID-19 pandemic as an another excuse to try to get illegal aliens awaiting deportation out of custody and back into American communities. They have especially targeted state and local law enforcement, as well as private contractors, who house immigration detainees for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In Bristol County, Massachusetts, a coalition of open borders groups including Lawyers for Civil Rights and the Brazilian Worker Center sued Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, a longtime advocate for cooperation between local law enforcement and ICE. In their suit against Sheriff Hodgson, they demand that the detainees he houses for ICE be released on the basis of “poor health conditions in the jail.” Hodgson's office described the suit as "absurd and completely frivolous.” The claims the jail has no toilet paper or sanitizer and that people are admitted without health screenings “is laughable.”
In Howard County, Maryland, CASA De Maryland and others organized a “car-only action” protest in the parking lot of the county detention center, demanding County Executive Howard Ball order the release of all “nonviolent offenders.”
In York County, Pennsylvania, where the local jail houses one of the largest populations of ICE detainees in the country, a group of detainees calling themselves the Movement of Immigrant Leaders (MILPA) staged a hunger strike while at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the county in addition to the adjoining counties of Pike and Clinton, leading US District Judge John Jones III to order 12 detainees released.
In California and Washington State, the ACLU sent letters to the GEO Group, the largest private detention contractor that houses ICE detainees in its facilities, strongly suggesting litigation may be imminent. In 2019, California passed a law to ban private immigration detention facilities. A lawsuit filed by both the GEO Group and the federal government challenged the constitutionality of the ban. Lawmakers in Washington have also taken the pandemic as a renewed opportunity to push similar legislation in their state.
Former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan responded to these actions saying “a mass release would be a serious mistake and do far more harm than good. Among other things, it would endanger public safety by releasing detainees with violent criminal records into our communities. And it could also increase the health risks to detainees who are released.”
Unfortunately, these are likely just the first few examples. More can probably be expected in the future.