Investigation Into ICE's Mishandling of COVID-19
The United States currently has the largest immigration detention system in the world. On any given day, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, holds tens of thousands of people in about 200 facilities across the country. And throughout the pandemic, these facilities have become some of the most dangerous places in the United States when it comes to COVID-19 outbreaks.
Our analysis compared estimated infection rates in ICE detention centers with infection rates in prisons and in the general population. As COVID-19 cases rose last June, ICE detention facilities had an average infection rate five times that of prisons and 20 times that of the general population.
To understand the risks the ICE facilities posed, we talked to former detainees, data scientists, lawyers, county officials and the family of a former ICE contractor about the spread of COVID-19 inside and outside ICE detention centers. We also reviewed court documents, medical records of detainees and government inspection reports from June 2020 to March 2021. Here’s what we found.