How the Immigration Bond and Detention System Created Today’s COVID-19 Tinderbox

Hafsa S. Mansoor & Katherine Comly
Date of Publication: 
April, 2020
Source Organization: 

Immigration detention centers face high risks for COVID-19 outbreaks. This report from Seton Hall University describes the impact that the current coronavirus pandemic has upon overcrowded U.S. immigrant detention centers. As other institutions have implemented social distancing and other measures to prevent the spread of the virus, immigrant detention centers have failed to adequately protect their populations from the pandemic. With some of the highest numbers of detained immigrants in the world, the outbreak has highlighted preexisting overcrowding issues within immigrant detention facilities in the United States. Despite the hundreds of immigrants who have tested positive for coronavirus, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has continued to detain undocumented immigrants and contribute to overcrowding in facilities. The report points to underlying systemic issues, such as the bond system, that have contributed to poor public health outcomes within the facilities. Since the 1990s, the number of detained immigrants who are released on bond has steadily decreased. Additionally, the immigration detention system has increasingly resembled criminal detention centers in its use of bed quotas and private prisons to house individuals. The paper argues that bond should be made more accessible and that ICE should release immigrant detainees who pose no threat to public safety, beginning with those most vulnerable to the virus. Moreover, the U.S. should end the convergence of the immigration and criminal systems. (Mia Fasano for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Mansoor, H. S. & Comly, K. (2020, April 20). How the Immigration Bond and Detention System Created Today’s COVID-19 Tinderbox. Seton Hall University School of Law & Immigrants’ Rights/International Human Rights Clinic.