The Coronavirus outbreak is now known to be loose among the staff and child prisoners in our cruel, punitive, and wholly unnecessary, immigration detention centers. An outbreak throughout the system is now wholly predictable and inevitable.
The 15 private detention centers, along with local jails and shelters around the country, hold some 50,000 immigrants in civil detention, including about ~7,000 children, at any one time. These people are not charged with any crime, they are merely awaiting the outcome of their immigration cases or asylum claims. Now all these innocent people face inevitable exposure to a virulent and potentially deadly virus.
Continuing to hold these persons in such close confinement during this health crisis makes it certain that a predictable percentage of that population will become infected, and many will certainly die. Infectious disease, and the conditions that knowingly promote it, is one the primary tools of elimination historically used in concentration and death camps to intentionally liquidate the interned population.
If we do not release these thousands of innocent people now, we are no longer in the morally questionable position of running a system of cruel and needless civil detention centers to punish immigrants and asylum seekers for trying to come to this country, we will be running an intentional system of death camps for innocent immigrants, which is an unequivocal crime against humanity.
Of course, the same logic applies to our system of criminal incarceration during this health crisis. We know for a fact that many prisoners serving a term of criminal confinement are going to be commuted to a death sentence. Unless we take measures to prevent and mitigate the inevitable spread of Coronavirus in our jails and prisons, we will also be committing a crime against a percentage of our own citizens.
We must immediately and unconditionally release every immigrant civil detainee now.
We must take immediate and effective measures to protect our own citizens from the inevitable spread of Coronavirus in our jails and prisons.
To do nothing, knowing inaction will cause preventable deaths, is simply barbaric.