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PNS Daily Newscast - August 13, 2020 


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Coronavirus Worries Inside WA Immigrant Detention Center

No one has tested positive for coronavirus at the Northwest Detention Center, according to ICE. (Common Language Project/Flickr)
No one has tested positive for coronavirus at the Northwest Detention Center, according to ICE. (Common Language Project/Flickr)
March 11, 2020

TACOMA, Wash. -- Immigrants' advocacy groups are urging officials to monitor the health of people in the Northwest Detention Center during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Shutdown NWDC Coalition, representing more than 200 groups across Washington state, is calling on the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to perform an on-site inspection of the facility by Friday. Maru Mora Villalpando, a community organizer for La Resistencia, said immigration detention centers have a bad health record, including a mumps outbreak last year.

"We've seen governmental officials taking seriously the health of Washington residents," she said. "They should not forget that people in the detention center are also Washington residents."

U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has said it has been tracking the virus and testing when appropriate. According to the agency's latest numbers from last week, four people at the Northwest Detention Center had been tested, and no test was positive. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department did not respond to a request for comment.

Villapando said ICE also should stop moving people between facilities.

"We want an immediate moratorium on transfers across the nation because it's common sense regarding science," she said. "People should stay put right now, and make sure that they're getting the medical care that they require."

She called on officials to release people who are at high risk, such as older adults or those with underlying health conditions and pregnant women, so they can get treatment and reduce their exposure risk within the confines of the facility.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA