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21st July 2020, 11:42:24 UTC

On 26 June, a US federal judge ordered ICE to release all children from family immigration detention facilities, which the judge declared were “on fire” with COVID-19. The judge doesn’t have the power to order the release of the parents, too, and that’s where you come in. ICE will only release families together if they feel the cost of sustained outrage and pressure from activists like you.

Nearly 100 families seeking safety from violence and persecution have been locked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Pennsylvania and Texas. Held in indefinite detention, they feel they are sitting ducks for COVID‐19, which runs rampant in the family detention centres.

Instead of releasing them together from facilities with confirmed COVID‐19 cases, ICE is choosing to separate families or keep them locked up together in detention indefinitely. Neither is an option.

Releasing children but continuing to detain their parents would constitute family separation, a practice that in some cases can amount to torture under US and international law.

ICE must immediately release all families together to protect them from the pandemic while maintaining their family unity.

They have communities waiting to welcome them, and there is no reason — especially during a pandemic — not to release children with their parents.

Demand ICE release all families together. The judge-imposed deadline for authorities to act is 27 July 2020, so every moment counts.

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