ACLU wins release of four detainees afraid of catching COVID-19

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Border Report) — The American Civil Liberties Union has withdrawn a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of four undocumented migrants who were afraid of catching the Coronavirus.

On Friday, all four were released from custody.

Two were being detained at the Otay Mesa Detention Center near the San Diego-Mexico border, where eight employees and 16 detainees have now tested positive for COVID-19.

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Two detainees at the Otay Mesa Detention Center were released from custody due to their pre-existing medical conditions, which they claimed made them vulnerable to COVID-19. Eight employees and 16 inmates have tested positive for the Coronavirus at the facility. Two other detainees in Arizona were also released for the same reason.

The other two plaintiffs had been housed at a facility in Imperial County, located between San Diego County and Arizona.

Their lawyer claimed all four had existing medical conditions. One has leukemia, another lung disease. The other two have HIV.

The ACLU said its clients’ medical history made them vulnerable in environments where many people are housed in close proximity, like a detention facility.

27 CBP employees in border communities test positive for COVID-19

Last week, ACLU attorney Monika Langarica said, “There’s a lack of access to gloves, masks, it’s impossible to practice social distancing because they bunk with others, they share showers, toilets and common spaces.”

Langarica feared her clients were likely to catch the coronavirus if they were not released.

“Our concern here is that if our plaintiffs remain detained they are going to become severely ill at best of die at worst,” Langarica said last week.

Migrant mother says border agents endangered her life while giving birth

The Department of Homeland Security could not be reached for comment about why it chose to release the four detainees.

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