COURT ORDERS RELEASE OF DETAINED INDIVIDUALS FROM MARYLAND IMMIGRATION FACILITIES

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All three petitioners in lawsuit from The National Immigration Project, CAIR Coalition, the ACLU, and the ACLU of Maryland have now been released due to their high risk of serious illness or death because of COVID-19

WASHINGTON (May 8, 2020) — The District Court has ordered the release of three detained individuals who were part of a lawsuit against U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), due to their high risk of serious illness or death because of COVID-19.

Two petitioners, who were detained in a facility in Worcester County, Md., were ordered to be released Thursday. One petitioner, who was detained in Howard County, Md., was released late last week, following news that a nurse who works in the facility had tested positive for COVID-19.

The release is in response to an emergency motion for a preliminary injunction order filed as part of a lawsuit The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Immigrants’ Rights Project, and the ACLU of Maryland filed in March.

“We are delighted for our clients, who have fought long and hard for their health and safety and can finally be safe from harm,” said Sirine Shebaya, Executive Director of NIPNLG. “But as COVID-19 continues to spread through detention centers like wildfire, we won’t forget all those who are left behind. One facility at a time, one state at a time, we will continue our fight in Maryland and across the country to seek release of all who are medically vulnerable and who continue to be in unsafe congregate environments at this time.”

“We are happy and relieved that our clients have been released, but our work is far from over,” said Adina Appelbaum, Program Director of the Immigration Impact Lab at CAIR Coalition. “While this is certainly a victory, we hope that the decision made in Maryland today can help similar cases around the country, with detained immigrants fighting for their lives while being detained in facilities not equipped to handle a pandemic.”

"We are thrilled that our clients will be free to return home and practice social distancing and other safety measures, but it isn't enough," said Eunice Cho, senior staff attorney at the ACLU's National Prison Project. "This week, we saw the first death in ICE detention. The warnings of public health experts are beginning to come true — COVID-19 is spreading rapidly through facilities, impacting detained people, facility staff, and their communities. ICE must release many more people if it is to avoid the worst of the humanitarian crisis we're facing. We will continue fighting to ensure that it does."

To access the court’s decision granting a preliminary injunction for the Petitioners at the Worcester County Detention Center, click here.

To access the court’s decision granting a preliminary injunction for the Petitioner at the Howard County Detention Center, click here.

To read the memo in support of a preliminary injunction for the Petitioner at the Howard County Detention Center, click here.

To read the memo in support of a preliminary injunction for the Petitioners at the Worcester County Detention Center, click here.

To read the original complaint, click here.  


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