ACLU lawsuit accuses ICE jailers of refusing vaccines to detainees
The American Civil Liberties Union said in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday that people with health conditions that put them at high risk from COVID-19 have been denied access to coronavirus vaccine booster shots.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of four people held in immigration detainees who have kidney disease, HIV or other conditions, and names ICE and the agency’s acting director, Tae Johnson, as well as the Department of Homeland Security and its secretary, Alejandro N. Mayrakas.
The ACLU said it hopes to convert the filing to a class-action suit, and that it was intended to ensure booster shots are accessible to all eligible medically vulnerable detainees.
“What we are hearing is that people will request for COVID-19 booster shots, that they will be told that none are available at this time, that they will just have to wait,” Senior Staff Attorney Eunice Cho said. ACLU National Prison Project. “Sometimes they are overlooked.”
According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data, around 18,200 people were held in immigration custody, of whom 1,035 tested positive for COVID and were in isolation or under surveillance as of Friday afternoon. The agency does not provide data on how many detainees have been vaccinated.
ICE’s pandemic response requirements were last updated in October and do not refer to booster shots, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all adults get one. A spokeswoman for the agency said she could not comment on the ongoing trial.
This is the second lawsuit the ACLU has filed to get booster shots for people held in immigration custody. Both were filed in Federal District Court for the District of Columbia. Ms Cho said the five plaintiffs named in the first lawsuit received booster shots after they were filed.
The most prominent plaintiff in the new trial is Anna Sorokin, a Russian immigrant who for many years presented herself as a German heiress named Anna Delvey. She got a booster shot on Thursday, Ms Cho said.
“We really don’t have to file these lawsuits to secure booster shots for people in ICE custody,” Ms. Cho said. “ICE should do what the government’s own medical advisors advise and start providing booster shots to all who are eligible and request them.”
Ms Sorokin, 31, has been in ICE custody since March 2021 and is accused of spending more time on her visa.
Ms Sorokin, who is detained at Orange County Correctional Facility in Goshen, NY, has a chronic kidney infection and received a dose of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine around April 2021, according to the complaint. The complaint states that he made several requests for a booster shot, including before and after testing positive for Covid in January.
The other three plaintiffs are 24-year-old Kennett Jaffett Hernandez Herrera, who is in custody in Eloy, Ariz.; Ramon Dominguez Gonzalez, 32, who is being held at the Imperial Regional Adult Detention Facility in California; and Miguel Angel Escalante, 36, who is under house arrest in Florence, Ariz.
In January, two doctors who oversee immigration detention centers for the Homeland Security Office of the Department of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Scott Allen and Josiah Rich, wrote a letter to the heads of ICE and the Department of Homeland Security asking their agencies to provide boosters. urged. prisoners shot
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