Border Patrol detained 600 families for several days under the Anzalduas International Bridge in Mission, Texas. Migrants were held from Saturday to Monday, and were not provided with adequate shelter or medical care.
U.S. border officials are holding 5,000 unaccompanied minors in custody, and many are remaining in Border Patrol custody for longer than the legal limit of 72 hours.
Unaccompanied migrant children are staying in Border Patrol facilities for an average of 107 hours (far more than the legal limit of 72), according to internal documents.
The Biden administration is preparing to convert family detention centers in South Texas to rapid-processing centers. The change is expected to cut detention times to a maximum of 72 hours.
Migrant children crossing the border are being held for 77 hours on average, according to CNN. This exceeds the legal limit of 72 hours and demonstrates the inadequate capacity of border infrastructure to handle the current migration influx.
ICE officials told immigration activists that they will be ending long-term detention at two Texas facilities, Dilley and Karnes City. Migrants will be held just long enough to administer Covid tests and arrange transportation but will no longer be held to wait for asylum screenings or court dates.
- ICE detainee transfers around the country have lead to COVID-19 outbreaks in detention facilities in at least five states: Texas, Ohio, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
- Amnesty International releases a report on family separations throughout the border closure due to the pandemic. It focuses on three “family residential centers” in the United States: the Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania, the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, and the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas.
- Carlos Ernesto Escobar Mejia becomes the first to die from COVID-19 in ICE custody. Escobar Mejia, 57, fled El Salvador as a teenager and lived in the United States for four decades. Apprehended by Border Patrol in January, Escobar Mejia passed away at Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego – where ICE has its largest COVID-19 outbreak.
- CBP releases federal enforcement statistics which show a 50% decrease in unauthorized border crossings in April. Border authorities detained 16,789 people compared to 34,064 in April 2019. 14,416 people were quickly expelled as CBP continues their new method of rapid processing and expulsion to minimize detentions.
- Immigration detainees inside the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego begin a hunger strike to protest the lack of health care precautions that has led to the largest ICE detention outbreak in the country. Detainees are unable to maintain social distancing and the ill are being told to gargle salt water by maskless and gloveless guards before being sent back to their “pods” with no COVID-19 testing taking place.
- Detainees in the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego, in order to receive a mask, were required to sign a contract absolving CoreCivic – the private company that runs the detention center – of responsibility if they fell ill. Twelve ICE detainees there have tested positive. Upon refusal of the contract, detainees reported being threatened with pepper spray.
- CBP officials announce that approximately 10,000 “expulsions” have been carried out since March 21. CBP reports that there are fewer than 100 people in custody compared to the 20,000 detained at this time last year.
- Newly unsealed court documents reveal that on a majority of days between July 2018 and June 2019, holding cells at 18 of the 24 border crossings were no more than half-full. Legal advocates for migrant rights question the legitimacy of the administration’s claims that the Remain in Mexico policy had to be enacted due to inability to accommodate asylum-seekers in the United States. CBP has long maintained that the number of migrants it can take in is governed not just by the amount of holding-cell space but by available manpower.
- CBP awaits a decision from U.S. District Judge David Bury, as a seven-day trial wraps up over temporary holding conditions for migrants apprehended in the Tucson sector. The case arose from a lawsuit from a coalition of groups suing over miserable conditions in CBP custody despite an earlier injunction mandating minimal standards. CBP custody should not last more than 72 hours, but during fiscal year 2019, of 63,490 people apprehended in the Tucson Sector, one in five (12,030 total) was held longer than 72 hours.