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Immigrant Rights Groups Are Concerned Uptick In ICE Arrests Will Add To Public Health Crisis

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Immigrant rights groups are concerned about a recent uptick in arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They said they want transparency in terms of COVID-19 safety procedures. 


At least four people, one in Fresno and three in Taft, have been arrested and detained by ICE in the last week, said Lisa Knox, legal director for the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice.


“The way we gather this information is we work with rapid response networks throughout the state where either hotlines are available or community members report ICE activity,” said Knox. 


The people arrested reported unsafe conditions, she said. 


“They're usually taken to one or even a couple of different processing centers to be processed by ICE and then many of them are being sent to detention centers,” Knox said. “So at all of these points this is a threat to public health.” 


Knox said she is working with legislators to demand information from ICE on how the agency is protecting those arrested, especially because there have been COVID outbreaks in facilities like Mesa Verde.   


“This agency has shown that they cannot and will not control COVID-19 in these detention centers and yet, are detaining more people and sending them to detention centers,” Knox said. 


ICE has said that it continues to follow CDC guidelines on COVID-19. 

Madi Bolanos covered immigration and underserved communities for KVPR from 2020-2022. Before joining the station, she interned for POLITCO in Washington D.C. where she reported on US trade and agriculture as well as indigenous women’s issues during the Canadian election. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in anthropology from San Francisco State University. Madi spent a semester studying at the Danish Media and Journalism School where she covered EU policies in Brussels and alleged police brutality at the Croatian-Serbian border.
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