Joshua Manson, communications manager with the UCLA COVID Behind Bars Data Project, noted that outbreaks inside detention centers don’t just stay there, and that the consequences could be especially severe for immigrants who are immunocompromised.
Although President Biden reversed several of President Trump’s draconian immigration policies on his first day in office—including the Muslim travel ban and construction on a southern border wall—he has kept other policies. These have included turning away migrants at the border during the pandemic and requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico until their court dates. This has caused many young advocates who mobilized their communities in favor of President Biden to feel disenchanted with the administration and with Democrats as a whole.
McHenry and Kankakee counties had sued when Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Illinois Way Forward Act, prohibiting counties from entering into contracts with ICE beginning January 1, 2022. This week, a three-judge panel ruled against the counties, meaning that those detainees in McHenry and Kankakee counties must be released or transferred to other jails out of state.
Advocates are working hard to ensure that the detainees—who were jailed for immigration violations—are able to be released and reunited with their families.