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Mexican Immigrant Ordered Released from Detention 2 Months Before He Died of COVID-19

A judge recognized Cipriano Chavez-Alvarez's chronic illness would make it hard to fight off the coronavirus, but his order was seemingly ignored

The agency says it is working to distribute the covid vaccine to detainees, but its history of shoddy medical care has advocates worried

These photos were taken at Batavia - Buffalo Federal Detention Facility. Credit: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Flickr

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Two months before Cipriano Chavez-Alvarez died in ICE custody from COVID-19, a federal judge ordered his release from prison. The judge said his ability to defend himself from injury or disease would be “substantially diminished” due to his chronic illness, records obtained by BuzzFeed News show. Chavez-Alvarez had lymphoma, diabetes, kidney disease and hypertension. “He always believed he was going to get out,” Chavez-Alvarez’s daughter, Martha Chavez said. “We talked about what we were going to do. When we were going to meet. We had so many plans. And then…none of that happened.” BuzzFeed News

In other national immigration news…

Well Known Milwaukee Immigration Attorney Killed in Attack

A well-known Milwaukee immigration attorney was killed in an “altercation” with a bicyclist on Tuesday. Jason Cleereman, 54, was driving with his wife when he exchanged words with a bicyclist who was riding recklessly. The cyclist then allegedly shot Cleereman. “My brother was a very kind, loving, helpful man,” said Cleereman’s sister, Vanessa Maldonado. “He’s well-known at the courthouse and a lot of people around the east side, where we were raised, near where the incident happened.” Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 

More Immigrant Characters on TV Leads to Favorable Immigration Views, Study Shows

TV shows that depict a nuanced picture of immigrant life are changing viewers’ understanding of and attitudes toward immigrants, according to a new study from Define American in partnership with the Norman Lear Center, which researches and evaluates media at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. TV shows with immigrant characters – specifically “Ramy,” “One Day at a Time,” and “How to Get Away with Murder” are inspiring change in attitudes. Researchers found the more people watched shows with immigrant characters, the more likely they were to welcome the idea of having immigrants come to the U.S. The Los Angeles Times 

Judge Orders DHS to Release Documents on COVID-19 Outbreaks

U.S. District Judge Otis Wright II of Los Angeles ordered DHS on Wednesday to release records regarding COVID-19 outbreaks at California’s Otay Mesa and Adelanto immigration jails and Border Patrol stations. He ordered DHS to release 1,000 pages per month beginning immediately in response to a FOIA request filed by legal services group Al Otro Lado and the Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School. The facilities had particularly bad COVID-19 outbreaks — Otay Mesa in San Diego was the worst in the country. The records are related to precautions taken by DHS to protect detainees from the virus. KPBS

Immigrants Brought to Hearing Regardless of Testing Positive for COVID-19

Immigration detainees in South Florida are being required to attend court hearings, even after they test positive for COVID-19, the Miami Herald reports. The news was revealed during a Miami immigration court hearing at the Krome detention center in West Miami-Dade County. A Venzuelan detainee who appeared in Krome’s court via video from the Glades County Detention Center told the judge he currently had COVID-19 and was taken out of isolation to attend his immigration hearing. Upon questioning, the lieutenant who was with the detainee said all detainees, regardless of medical conditions, have to attend court hearings, per the instructions she was given. Miami Herald

Max Siegelbaum

Co-executive Director of Documented


Mazin Sidahmed

Mazin Sidahmed is the co-executive director of Documented. He previously worked for the Guardian US in New York. He started his career writing for The Daily Star in Beirut and he also contributed to Politico New York.




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