Federal Judge orders ICE to release two more detained immigrants at risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 infection

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SAN FRANCISCO – A federal judge has ordered the release of two more detained immigrants in ICE detention centers in California on the grounds that their age and medical conditions make them especially vulnerable to a potentially fatal COVID-19 infection. As of today, eight of twelve plaintiffs who sued for their release have been or are scheduled to be freed.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney came in response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU Foundations of Northern California and Southern California, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, and Lakin & Wille LLP. Olvin Torres Murillo, a native of Honduras and Mauricio Quinteros Lopez, who is from El Salvador, suffer from hypertension—a medical condition which the CDC has identified as placing people at a particularly high risk of contracting a life-threatening COVID-19 infection.

Public health officials have called on Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to release people in detention centers where overcrowded and unsanitary conditions make it impossible to social distance.

“We are gratified by these latest releases,” said William Freeman, senior counsel at the ACLU of Northern California Foundation. “Public health experts have warned that failing to release those particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 infection because of their age or medical conditions endangers the lives of everyone in the detention facility, including staff, as well as the broader community.”

A copy of the ruling is available here.

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