US immigration agency accused of failing to protect detainees from Covid

Covid-19 “continues to spread rapidly throughout” detention centres run by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), threatening the lives of people detained across the nation, according to an attorney with the non-profit American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

“ICE officials have known for months that they must provide booster shots to people in detention, but have failed to do so,” Xinhua news agency quoted Eunice Cho, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s National Prison Project, as saying in a statement.

“ICE’s callous failure to provide this necessary protection is cruel and unconstitutional,” Cho alleged.

The ACLU and its legislative office in Washington, D.C. filed a lawsuit earlier this week on behalf of “medically vulnerable people detained” by the ICE “who have requested and been denied Covid-19 vaccine booster shots”.

The lawsuit demands that the plaintiffs, who are medically vulnerable to severe illness and death in the event of infection, as well as all medically vulnerable people in ICE detention, be offered booster shots.

It was the second lawsuit the ACLU has filed to obtain booster shots for people held in immigration detention.

More than one out of every 20 people in ICE detention are currently infected with Covid-19, according to ACLU data.

It also claimed ICE has provided only a total of 1,436 boosters to people detained in ICE detention facilities over four months between November 2021 and February 21, 2022, despite holding between 18,800 to 22,000 people on average daily.

Anna Sorokin, also known as Anna Delvey and now the subject of the popular Netflix series ‘Inventing Anna’, is among the four named plaintiffs in the civil action against US authorities and officials.

Sorokin, according to the ACLU lawsuit, said that she caught Covid-19 as a result of the ICE refusing her multiple requests for a booster shot.

The 31-year-old German woman convicted in 2019 of posing as a wealthy heiress to scam banks, hotels, and New York socialites, Sorokin was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison for her crimes and is presently detained by the ICE at a correctional facility in Goshen, New York.

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