Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) expressed his concern with how Stewart Detention Center is being operated amid the COVID-19 outbreak in a recent letter he wrote to Matthew T. Albence, Deputy Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In the letter, Johnson asks “what, if any, steps are being taken to protect the detainees and staff at this facility.” Stewart, which Johnson recognizes as having a “history of human rights abuses and poor operating conditions,” says he is concerned “that the proactive steps being taken by ICE may not be sufficient to protect the almost 2,000 detainees inside the facility.”
Johnson goes on to say that many detainees in Stewart “live on open floor pods that contain up to 60 people on rows of bunk beds” which makes it “impossible” for the facility to implement social distancing practices as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The congressman also acknowledged that more than 40 detained immigrants have been brought into the facility each day during the first week of May. He says that “due to recent studies showing that COVID-19 has a long incubation period and asymptomatic carriers of the virus could be fueling its spread, if just one new asymptomatic detainee entered the facility under its current operating conditions, it is likely that hundreds of detainees will become infected.”
Johnson Also Worries Stewart Employees Could Contribute to the Spread of COVID-19
Aside from expressing his concern for detainees, Johnson also mentions that if employees aren’t taking basic health and safety precautions when they arrive at and leave the facility, they are “putting every detainee at risk of exposure to the virus.” The congressman goes to say that “if an outbreak were to happen, it would only add to the long list of human rights abuses reported at the Stewart Detention Center.”
To view Johnson’s letter along with the questions he has requested ICE to answer, click here.
How can I protect a loved one who is being detained in an immigration detention center in Georgia?
Immigration detention centers are being recognized as breeding grounds for COVID-19, hence, they are a dangerous place for anyone to be in. If your loved one is currently being held in an immigration detention center and you worry they are at a higher risk of contracting the virus, contact an Atlanta, GA immigration attorney at Kuck | Baxter Immigration to find out how they can help you. Depending on the circumstances, the Atlanta, GA immigration lawyers at Kuck | Baxter Immigration may be able to get them released early.
Kuck | Baxter Immigration can be reached at:
365 Northridge Road, Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30350