Covid and Immigrant Detention: Farmville VA and other ICE facilities

Update: actions continue to work toward release of ICA-Farmville detainees. See LaColectiVA — Facebook or website — for current information, including weekly PHONE ZAPs. See also memorial meeting including remarks from Verity, daughter of James Hill, who died of Covid at Farmville on 8/5/20. August 9 “Stop the Deaths” Program (Verity’s remarks begin around 33:00).

Thanks to Amber Qureshi for joining “Community thru Covid” to provide insights and action suggestions on supporting immigrants in ICE custody at this time of pandemic. The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) has long been advocating for the rights of immigrants. Attorney Amber Qureshi works on Covid-related cases for those in ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) custody, as well as other immigration enforcement issues, with NIPNLG. She joined “Community thru Covid” on July 15 to discuss the situation at ICA-Farmville VA — where Covid-19 cases are skyrocketing — and nationwide.

Segment beings around 29:00 here (video link below) —

Amber (pronounced: UM-BER) provided an overview of legal advocacy for immigrants in custody, especially concerning serious, possibly lethal, consequences of pandemic spread in ICE facilities. In particular, she described the alarming rise in positive Covid tests at the ICA-Farmville (VA) facility. Amber outlined some actions non-lawyers can take while lawyers continue to seek release and other remedies for ICE detainees:

  • Contact your state’s health department and find out how they are monitoring conditions inside ICE facilities;
  • Advocate for an end to transfers of detainees from one facility to another, which is contributing to Covid-19 outbreaks in Farmville and elsewhere;
  • Contact local officials about oversight of ICE facilities and urge them to end contracts: the town of Farmville, VA, e.g., holds the contract with ICA and has the power to end that, she said;
  • Support bond efforts to help facilitate immigrants’ release;
  • Join with others — local, regional, and national organizations — on collective advocacy, including letter-writing and calls, and add financial support where possible.

Local to DC — especially regarding the Covid-19 outbreak at ICA-Farmville — contact Sanctuary DMV Facebook page or website and La CollectiVA. Here is one upcoming action —

Artwork is by Electra Bolotas. From Sanctuary DMV

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