Free people from ICE detention

No one should be locked up just for seeking safety

As the world responds to an unprecedented crisis unfolding from the COVID-19 pandemic, people locked up in U.S. immigration detention are at heightened risk of the deadly disease. Children and parents who came here seeking safety from violence and persecution were instead thrown behind bars, often in crowded conditions with inadequate hygiene and negligent medical care.

Urge Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence to free people—including all families together—from ICE detention and protect them from COVID-19.

#PROTECTIMMIGRANTS: June 18-21 Days of Action

Use this toolkit to take action on immigration detention and in solidarity with Juneteenth, World Refugee Day, and Father’s Day this week.


In 2017, three-year-old Josue* and his mom Teresa* were released from the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania after over 16 months in ICE detention.


Public health experts predict that unless ICE drastically reduces the numbers of detained immigrants in its care, anywhere from 72% to nearly 100% of individuals held in many ICE facilities could contract COVID-19 within three months, endangering those held and working in ICE detention and overwhelming hospital capacity.


“We are adrift, about to sink, because if there is one person to be infected, in our unit we would all perish…”
Detained individual on hunger strike in Tacoma, Washington

Immigrants and asylum-seekers face grave risks including illness and even death if exposed to COVID-19 in immigration detention facilities — where rapid spread within crowded centers may occur. Many of them are at heightened risk of COVID-19 because of their age or serious medical needs. Conditions in immigration detention are well-documented to have substandard medical care, inadequate basic hygiene, and overcrowding.

The U.S. government is responsible for the health and safety of people in its custody. It must immediately release families, together, and individuals in detention. and mitigate the risk of contracting COVID-19, illness, and death for them as well as facility staff. Many detained immigrants and asylum-seekers have long-standing family, faith, and other communities in the U.S. who could safely house them if they were released.

“I fear me, my daughter, and my unborn fetus will die if we become sick in detention…I am most afraid because I cannot keep a sufficient distance from other people to keep myself safe from contracting the virus if they have it...I share a room, bathroom, and the dining hall. All locations in this jail are communal.”
— Pregnant mother locked up with her 4-year-old daughter in Dilley, Texas