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Twenty-two detainees at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement jail in Batavia, New York, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Investigative Post. All 180 detainees held at the facility have since been tested for the virus. The first positive result was reported on Feb. 11 and a further 13 people held in the same section as that person subsequently tested positive, The latest numbers were revealed in a status report submitted Tuesday in ongoing litigation about conditions at the facility. U.S. Western District Court Judge Lawrence Vilardo said he was prepared to order that all staff at the facility also get tested. Investigative Post
In other local immigration news…
New Jersey Health Officials Push for Relief for Undocumented Immigrants
Public health officials in New Jersey sent a letter to the state’s top officials urging them to provide coronavirus relief to undocumented immigrants living in the state. An estimated 500,000 undocumented immigrants live in New Jersey and are ineligible for federal relief. Dr. Poonam Alaigh, Commissioner of Health under former Gov. Chris Christie, and Dr. George T. DiFerdinando, Acting Commissioner of Health under former Gov. Jim McGreevy, are among the signers. The authors argued income stability was critical for all people during the pandemic to ensure they can quarantine at home. NJ Advance Media
NY Rep. Clarke Calls on Government to Stop Haitian Deportations
Caribbean American Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) urged ICE to stop what she and other congressmembers described as “targeted” deportations of Haitians. Several New York-based advocacy groups said that ICE had deported roughly 300 Haitians since Feb. 1. “Haiti is facing a delicate political landscape that could cause disproportionate harm to wrongfully deported immigrants,” she said. Murad Awawdeh and Rovika Rajkishun, interim co-executive directors of the New York Immigration Coalition, meanwhile contended “It’s no surprise that ICE kicked off Black History Month by terrorizing Black immigrants and tearing apart their families.” Caribbean National Weekly
Groups Hold Vigil for Immigrants in ICE Detention
Activist groups held their 12th annual Ash Wednesday vigil at Liberty State Park for immigrants detained in ICE jails. Pax Christi New Jersey, First Friends of New Jersey and New York, the Archdiocese of Newark Justice for Immigrants Task Force, the American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program, the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, and the St. Joseph Social Service Center organized the vigil. Several speakers recounted stories of people who have been detained and deported by ICE. Hudson County View
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