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Asylum Seekers Say ICE Guard Threatened to Expose Them to COVID

Three asylum seekers from Cameroon say an Immigration and Customs Enforcement guard threatened to transfer them to a COVID ward.

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Three asylum seekers from Cameroon say an Immigration and Customs Enforcement guard threatened to expose them to COVID-19 if they failed to obey his orders and submit to deportation. They were told they would be transferred to Bravo-Alpha, the detention unit of the Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center in Louisiana where COVID-19 positive detainees were held in quarantine, detainee Clovis Fozao told The Intercept. “They were forcing us out of the dorm, pushing and dragging us,” Fozao said, explaining when the guards pushed the detainees toward deportation. “They threatened to call the SWAT team.” The Intercept

In other national immigration news…

Judge Appalled by ICE Agents’ Conduct During Tennessee Raid

Isabel Zelaya and her son were working inside a slaughterhouse in Bean Station, Tennessee when hundreds of people with guns, clad in black, stormed inside the facility. Zelaya’s first thought was that they were terrorists, but they were a mix of federal agents and Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers. Workers, largely immigrants, launched a lawsuit over the raid that exposed how the agents shouted racial slurs and told Latino workers to stop moving. The agents sexually harassed at least one of the workers and physically assaulted others, among other accusations.Chief U.S. District Judge Travis McDonough was so moved by the event that he appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to lift the shield of immunity granted to federal law enforcement officers. Knox News

ACLU of Massachusetts Sues Over COVID Asylum Policy

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts announced Tuesday that it is suing the federal government over a Trump-era policy expelling asylum seekers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ACLU of Massachusetts and Fish & Richardson P.C., a Boston-based law firm, are challenging former President Trump’s policy using the Public Health Service Act in Title 42 of the U.S. Code to expel asylum seekers from the country’s southern border. The is an effort to bring seven asylum seekers to safety, as the ACLU claims the Department of Homeland Security unlawfully expelled them in October and November of last year. Masslive 

Colorado Lawmakers Seek to Expand Detained Representation Efforts

Lawmakers in Colorado are trying to establish an immigrant legal defense fund. Currently, Denver has a program called the Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund, which dedicated $755,000 to providing legal representation to detained immigrants. A 2015 study from the University of Pennsylvania found that immigrants were 10 times more likely to win their cases if they had representation. A bill to create the fund hasn’t been introduced yet, but State Representative Kerry Tipper and State Representative Naquetta Ricks are both hopeful it will gain momentum after it’s introduced sometime in 2021. 9News Denver 

Facility for Unaccompanied Minors Moves to Terminate its ICE Contract

One of the last facilities in the county that holds young immigrants for ICE has moved to terminate its contract with the agency. The Cowlitz County Youth Services Center in Longview, Washington, has contracted with ICE since 2001 to hold immigrant youth. The county collects $170 per day per child, according to court documents. “Due to the increased lengths of stay not suited for our short-term facility, and because it’s clear the legislature intended to end contracts of this nature within our state, Cowlitz County Superior Court has notified ICE of our intention to terminate the contract,” administrators from the facility said in a release. Minors who crossed the border alone are held at the facility. OPB

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