MEDIA ADVISORY: Congressional Hispanic Caucus Members Calls on ICE to Heed Advice of Public Health Experts and Immediately Release ICE Detainees to Prevent COVID-19 Outbreaks

Mar 30, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), CHC members, and immigration experts will discuss why the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must immediately release non-priority and low-risk detainees, vulnerable immigrants, and migrant children from US custody, as federal detention facility conditions leave detainees extremely vulnerable to the novel coronavirus. ICE facilities have shown themselves to be ill-prepared to provide adequate medical care to vulnerable detainees and have had issues containing outbreaks. Further, ICE often has to rely on local medical facilities to treat ill detainees. The novel coronavirus is a significant threat on a far greater scale. ICE’s failure to reduce detention numbers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 has a real possibility of creating a severe health crisis for detention centers and overwhelming local health care facilities.

Earlier this month, Chairman Castro and Immigration Task Force Chairwoman Sánchez called on DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and HHS Secretary Alex Azar to share plans for resource management, release of detainees, and treatment of individuals exhibiting symptoms in custody. In the time since, at least 4 migrants in custody and 5 ICE detention facility employees have tested positive for COVID-19. In the weeks since, immigration attorneys, civil rights advocates, doctors, and public health experts have called for the release of detained populations and warned of the deadly risk of an outbreak in facilities.


Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), Chairwoman of the CHC Immigration Task Force

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14)

Congressman Jesús "Chuy" García (IL-04)

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (TX-29)

Naureen Shah, Senior Advocacy and Policy Counsel on Immigrants' Rights, ACLU

Tania Linares Garcia, Senior Attorney, National Immigrant Justice Center


Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 at 1:00 pm ET / 10:00 am PT


*** New Number: 888-603-9687 ***

Meeting ID: CHC


Interested media should RSVP to

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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.