UPDATE: On March 27, ICE released two immigrants detained in the Plymouth County Correctional Facility in Massachusetts. Read the press release.

In March 2020, the ACLU of Massachusetts, together with the ACLU and Boston immigration attorneys, filed a lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, on behalf of two immigrants detained in the Plymouth County Correctional Facility (PCCF) in Massachusetts.

The lawsuit seeks the release of the two detainees who, because of age and preexisting medical conditions, are at especially high risk of serious illness or death due to COVID-19. The disease has recently been detected in the PCCF. One detainee is 63 years old with prostate cancer; the other is 59 and with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure.

Because there is no vaccine, cure, or treatment for COVID-19, the only known way to protect against serious illness or death caused by COVID-19 is social distancing or hygiene, both of which are virtually impossible in a detention setting. For those reasons, correctional public health experts recommend the release of those vulnerable to suffering the most acutely from COVID-19. The release of the most vulnerable people in custody will also lessen the likelihood of an overwhelming number of people becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 at the same time and overwhelming the healthcare system.

The ACLU is calling for the immediate release of the plaintiffs on the ground that their continued detention violates the Due Process Clause.


Matthew Segal, Daniel McFadden, Adriana Lafaille (ACLU of Massachusetts); David Faithi, Eunice Cho, Michael Tan, Anand Balakrishnan, Omar Jadwat (ACLU); Susan Church (Demissie & Church); Kerry Doyle (Graves & Doyle)

Date filed

March 25, 2020