A spike in coronavirus cases in immigration detention centers has increased concern for the safety of children across the globe (ABC). As numbers rise, those in overcrowded spaces such as jail cells or detentions pose greater vulnerability to the virus. Inadequate access to healthcare, nutrition, or hygiene services are not uncommon and create a highly conducive environment for the spread of disease (UN). UNICEF’s Executive Director Henrietta Fore says, “an outbreak at one of these facilities could happen at any moment,” leading to possible complications and deaths (UNICEF).
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in the United States booked an additional 18,528 detainees in March, increasing the average to 35,671 detainees a day (ABC). Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union have sought out lawsuits in 13 states in the U.S. to release high-risk detainees, including children. Eunice Cho, a senior attorney with the Union, labels immigration detention “a death sentence for people who are at high risk” (ABC). UNICEF has since come out with a statement imploring governments and other detaining authorities to release children to their extended families or community-based care (UNICEF).