California ICE Detention Center Holding Only 5 People due to COVID Rule

California ICE Detention Center Holding Only 5 People due to COVID Rule

A detention center in California used by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is only housing five people, despite being able to hold thousands.

The Adelanto ICE Processing Center located in southern California can hold roughly 1,940 people, however, due to an outdated coronavirus policy, only five people are currently detained in the facility, according to the New York Post.

A judge ruled in September 2020 that the Adelanto ICE Processing Center should drastically reduce its inmate population, according to the Los Angeles Times. At the time, out of the 781 inmates housed at the facility, 81 had tested positive for COVID-19, nine of whom required hospitalization.

Under the order from the judge, ICE was instructed to file a “population reduction plan” to allow inmates to maintain a distance of six feet apart, “halt intake” of any more inmates to the facility, and require staff to maintain a distance of six feet apart, among other things.

Despite President Joe Biden having signed a bill in April 2023 ending the coronavirus national emergency declaration, the Adelanto ICE Processing Center is still under the judge’s order.

Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA) has blasted ICE and the Department of Justice for still having the outdated policy in place and has called on both agencies to “lift” the policy.

While the Adelanto ICE Processing Center is able to hold more people, Border Patrol officials have been struggling with thousands of undocumented migrants crossing the southern border into the United States.

Asylum seekers wait in line to be processed by the Border Patrol at a makeshift camp near the US-Mexico border east of Jacumba, San Diego County, California, January 2, 2024. (GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP via Getty Images)

In April, 37,000 undocumented migrants were apprehended by Border Patrol agents in the San Diego sector.

During the last week of April, Border Patrol agents arrested 10,023 undocumented migrants from 69 countries, Chief Patrol Agent Patricia McGurk-Daniel for the U.S. Border Patrol of San Diego wrote in a post on X.

In January 2024, ICE extended an evaluation of the Adelanto ICE Processing Center by 120 days, after the facility was reportedly expected to close in December, according to Fox News. ICE had previously launched a 60-day evaluation of the processing center in order to “evaluate the effect of ongoing litigation” along with costs related to operating and maintaining the facility.

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[By: Elizabeth Weibel

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