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Third Immigrant Detainee Dies from COVID

A 51-year-old immigrant from Mexico died of coronavirus, which has spread rampantly through immigration detention centers

Max Siegelbaum

Jul 15, 2020

Advocates protest outside the Hudson County Superior Court. Photo: Felipe De La Hoz

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A 51-year-old immigrant from Mexico who had tested positive for the coronavirus died in ICE detention Sunday afternoon at a hospital in south Florida. He was the third detainee to die of conditions related to the disease. Onoval Perez-Montufa reported experiencing shortness of breath to officials at the Glades County Detention Center and tested positive for the virus on July 2. Perez-Montufa entered ICE custody after he was released from federal prison in Massachusetts, where he served 12 years for cocaine distribution. So far, more than 3,180 immigrants in ICE custody have tested positive for Covid-19. The New York Daily News

In other national immigration news…

Increasing Number of Migrants Rescued in Arizona Desert

More migrants are being pushed towards attempting to cross the border in Arizona’s desert wilderness due to the southern border’s shutdown and increasingly harsh deportation policies. So far in 2020, U.S. border agents have already rescued 1,054 people in that desert, compared to 1,006 in the entire year of 2019. “Many times they (migrants) don’t carry enough water to survive the journey, so they’re wandering through the desert because of how large it is, and they may not necessarily know where to go, or they get lost,” said Agent Jose Garibay, the spokesman for Border Patrol’s Yuma Sector. Arizona Republic

Nearly 1,000 Private Detention Employees Tested Positive for COVID

More than 930 employees of private contractors that run immigration detention centers have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to congressional testimony given by company executives on Monday. The heads of CoreCivic, GEO Group, Management & Training Corp and LaSalle Corrections reported the infections in response to questions from lawmakers. ICE reported 45 cases of COVID-19 among its staff at detention facilities. CoreCivic said about 554 of its nearly 14,000 employees had tested positive. GEO Group said 167 of its 3,700 employees had come back with positive tests. LaSalle has 144 employees with COVID and MTC has 73. HuffPost

Legal Immigration Could Fall Nearly 50 Percent Under Trump

Legal immigration could fall 49 percent, or by 581,845 people, during Trump’s first term, according to a new report from the National Foundation for American Policy. “Average annual labor force growth, a key component of the nation’s economic growth,” the report said, would be approximately 59 percent lower “as a result of the administration’s immigration policies” at the end of Trump’s term. This lack of immigrants would erase “the majority of the economic growth gains America saw between 2011 and 2016 following the recession …,  according to economists at Oxford University and Citi,” the report continued. Newsweek

Record Number of Judges Left the Bench in 2019

A record number of immigration judges quit their jobs last year, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (at Syracuse University. Across the country, 35 judges fled the courts in 2019. There were 27 departures in 2019 and 20 in 2017. These judges are rapidly being replaced by others hired under the Trump administration; nearly two-thirds of currently serving judges started in FY 2017. “The record judge turnover means the court is losing its most experienced judges — judges whose services would be of particular value in helping mentor the large number of new immigration judges now joining the court’s ranks,” TRAC reported. The Crime Report

Max Siegelbaum

Co-executive Director of Documented




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