MIRA calls for immigrants to be released from detention facilities

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV)– The Mississippi Immigrants Rights alliance is calling for people in immigration detention facilities be released.

On August 7, food plants were raided, and Bill Chandler who heads up MIRA worked with volunteers to help the hundreds of families affected. The organization was already stretched. Now coronavirus is here. ​

“The thing is people are not working,” said Chandler. “They were already not working because of the raids, and it really depended on charity including ourselves for their bills, their rents​ and their medical needs so it’s going to put a burden on our organization as well as the various churches that have been providing ​support to those families.” ​

They’ve been relying on a newsletter that’s in Spanish to get the word out to families in the communities about COVID-19. He’s especially concerned about is the prison population. ​

“What has happened is that ICE has told people who are going to be visiting the detainees,” said Chandler. “These are primarily attorneys, that they have​ to provide their own protection, clothing at their own expense when they go into the facilities.” ​

ICE has released this information in response to visits: ​

“Non-contact legal visitation, to include the legal orientation program, will continue to be permitted. In order to safeguard visitors, detainees, and ICE and facility staff, official visitors may be subject to special screening and procedures. ICE may impose additional requirements, such as mandating that visitors wear protective equipment. “​

“Many of the people like detainees are locked up in small cells, maybe two or three people per cell usually its an 8 feet cell and what’s going to happen to them in close proximality,” said Chandler.

Advocates including Chandler say the measures aren’t enough.​

“Most, if not all, are locked up for immigration violations not for any crime,” said Chandler. “We feel these should be released and let out of those facilities.”

Chandler demands the government take action and free those who are in detention facilities like the ones in Mississippi and Louisiana.​

ICE has adjusted its enforcement to focus on those who pose “public safety risks.” ​You can see more information here.

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