Thousands in ICE Custody Quarantined for Infectious Diseases
More than 2,000 people held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement are being quarantined due to an outbreak of mumps and other diseases.
“As of March 7, 2019, there was a total of 2,287 detainees cohorted for exposure to a detainee with a contagious condition,” ICE spokesperson Brendan Raedy said in a statement, CNN reported.
In the past 12 months, there were health inspections in 51 ICE detention facilities nationwide for mumps, influenza and chickenpox, according to Raedy.
During this time period, there were 236 cases of mumps, 423 instances of influenza and 461 people with chickenpox in ICE custody.
“ICE takes very seriously the health, safety and welfare of those in our care. ICE is committed to ensuring the welfare of all those in the agency’s custody, including providing access to necessary and appropriate medical care,” Raedy said in a statement.
Last week, Texas officials announced that 186 patients, ranging in age from 13 to 66 years old, had been diagnosed with mumps in immigration detention facilities since October. Mumps is a virus primarily spread through mucus or saliva.
“They should be in isolation,” said Dr. David Persse of Houston’s public health authority.
“To some degree, this is foreseeable, because you’re bringing a lot of people and housing them in tight spaces for long periods,” Persse added.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan testified before Congress last week that many of the migrants detained at the border — who are coming primarily from Central America — have never seen a doctor or received immunizations.
“Migrants travel north from countries where poverty and disease are rampant, and their health can be aggravated by the physical toll of the journey,” he said.
“Many individuals we encounter may have never seen a doctor, received immunizations, or lived in sanitary conditions. Close quarters on trains and buses can hasten the spread of communicable diseases.”
According to CNN, CBP has requested additional medical support and is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to gather data about the infectious diseases of those in custody.
During testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, McAleenan corrected Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut who claimed that crossings at the southern border are at historic lows, therefore President Donald Trump was wrong to call it a national emergency.
“No senator, they’re not,” McAleenan said. “We are on pace for over 700,000 crossings this year. That’s closer to historic highs than historic lows.”
CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan has to correct Democrat Senator Richard Blumenthal’s false claim that border crossings are at a historic low:
“We’re on pace for over 700,000 crossings this year, that’s closer to historic highs than historic lows”pic.twitter.com/hO3d2pctua
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 6, 2019
“That’s only if we get to 700,000,” Blumenthal countered.
McAleenan responded, “I think we have to confront what’s happened in these five months. Four months of 60,000 crossing illegally. Last month, 76,000 in February. We have not had a February like that in over a decade.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.