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Policy Summary

A Federal Judge in Los Angeles ordered the US government to make continuous efforts to release migrant children held in detention facilities. These children are supposed to be transferred to the care of outside sponsors unless they pose a flight risk, within 7 days. There are currently nearly 7,000 children being detained in government run shelters. Several staff members and at least 4 children have tested positive for COVID-19 in shelters throughout the country. By April 6, both the Office of Refugee Resettlement and ICE (the 2 main agencies operating migrant children detention facilities) must prove their efforts to release migrant children.

The Trump Administration is insistent on quickly continuing the construction of the wall along the US Southern Border to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the US from Mexico, despite the CDC denouncing this is an effective strategy. Currently, in the small town of Ajo along the Arizona-Mexico border, workers from all over the country are filling up motels, airbnbs and mobile home camps. The town itself is full of retirees and is relatively removed from the nation’s current COVID-19 hotspots, so it is rather underprepared should an outbreak occur.

Analysis

Townspeople of Ajo, Arizona are concerned the influx of people from all over will heighten their risk to contracting COVID-19 and the workers clustered in tight quarters can exponentially grow the cases in the US. These workers, if they contract COVID-19, may pass it on to their families when they return home (and all the different places throughout the country these workers came from). Similarly, due to the living situations in migrant detention centers, thousands of children may be in danger of contracting COVID-19 as a result of their close living situations. Building the wall during a pandemic is not a strategic move to curb the spread of the virus, but rather pursuing the Trump Administration’s immigration agendas that have been in place long before the virus was introduced to the US

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • Border Network for Human Rights: network to engage education, organization and participation of border communities to defend human rights and work towards a society where everyone is equal in rights and dignity.
  • World Health Organization: the WHO provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and global responses
  • Center for Disease Control: the CDC provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and the US responses

 

 

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