U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement today released two immigrants detained in the Plymouth County Correctional Facility in Massachusetts, after a lawsuit filed earlier this week by the ACLU of Massachusetts and immigration attorneys.
On Wednesday, the ACLU—together with Massachusetts-based attorneys Susan Church of Demissie & Church and Kerry Doyle of Graves & Doyle—filed a petition for the release of people who are in civil detention and who are at high risk for serious illness or death in the event of COVID-19 infection due to underlying medical conditions. The lawsuit is part of a nationwide ACLU action, with similar lawsuits in Pennsylvania, California, Maryland and Washington state.
“We are pleased that Mr. Rodas and Mr. Marzouca have been released from ICE detention, and can now safely self-isolate for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. “Public health experts have predicted that once outbreaks in detention centers begin, they will spread rapidly. The same experts continue to advise that detention centers—as well as jails and prisons—must dramatically reduce their population for the safety of detained people, staff, and the communities they live in. ICE must take immediate and drastic steps to reduce the number of people in detention.”
“While I’m very pleased that these two people have been released to seek safety with their families, I’m concerned about the many other people still in custody,” said Church. “The federal government must establish a coordinated and humane response to protect incarcerated people who are gravely endangered by this pandemic.”
“The Rodas family is extremely relieved and happy to have their father returned to them so they can properly support him and quarantine him in their family home during this dangerous pandemic,” said Doyle. “We are also relieved not to have to appear in Boston immigration court for Mr. Rodas's bond hearing; detained hearings continue, and detainees are still being brought in person to the court in small vans from jails that cannot properly care for their wards during a pandemic. As a result, immigration detainees, immigration attorneys, immigration judges, and immigration prosecutors are all being exposed to the coronavirus.”