CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -- Ohio Immigrant Alliance is demanding the release of undocumented detainees who are non-violent offenders.
Doctors, attorneys and advocates all came together for a Tuesday conference call to make the same desperate plea -- release ICE detainees to avoid spreading the coronavirus.
“The counties need to find a way to release immigrant detainees, the state does as well,” said Lynn Tramonte, director of the Ohio Immigrant Alliance.
Five years ago, Dr. Laura Chambers-Kersh was in Liberia during the Ebola pandemic and can relate to the dangers of COVID-19.
"US immigration detention facilities are the perfect arrangement to cause an explosion of COVID-19 cases. Failure to release detainees in the midst of the current pandemic, it’s a high probability of leading to suffering and death in a population that causes no danger to the general community, she said.
Chambers-Kersch said the reasons are obvious.
“Cramped, overcrowded quarters with limited access, preventative measures like soap and water, hand sanitizer and the ability to social distance," she said. “Even outside of these facilities we have incredibly limited testing which makes it very hard to isolate cases that would be compounded in these facilities.”
Nazly Mamedova, an immigration attorney in Cincinnati said, "Now, for attorneys to meet with clients through televideos in jails, we’ll have to bring our own protective equipment which is unable to obtain. I wasn’t able to find a mask. I could find gloves, but a lot of hospitals are in need of those supplies.”
Ohio Immigrant Alliance sent a detailed letter to Gov. Mike DeWine’s office and is waiting for a response.