In times of national crisis and fast-spreading tragedy like the novel coronavirus pandemic, you can always count on the people who promote sociopathic political worldviews to reveal their awful, deeply inhuman natures for all the world to see—and they don’t come much more sociopathic than immigrant-hating Nativists.
Sure enough, the leaders and spokesmen of key Nativist hate groups—notably the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), both designated hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center—have taken the lead in opposing any release of immigrants currently held in detention centers around the United States despite the spread of COVID-19 in these facilities, as Michael Edison Hayden reports at Hatewatch.
The need to act is growing daily. Four people at an ICE facility in Batavia, New York, recently tested positive. Across the country, some 35 detainees have tested positive at various facilities around the country, the agency reports.
A hunger strike at a York County, Pa., ICE facility first drew attention to the detainees’ precarious situation. As a result, a federal judge last month ordered 10 of the York immigrants deemed susceptible to the virus due to health conditions to be released, saying their detainment was “unconscionable and possibly barbaric.”
Authorities elsewhere are taking similar measures for general prison populations. USA Today reported that “Attorney General William Barr has ordered the release of some medically vulnerable inmates from federal prisons and sheriffs have released thousands of jail inmates to minimize the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks.” In Washington state, the state Supreme Court ordered Gov. Jay Inslee to “take all necessary steps” to protect prison inmates from the pandemic; Inslee earlier indicated he was considering early release for some nonviolent prisoners.
So ICE is considering releasing around 600 people scattered around the country in its facilities, all of whom “may be vulnerable” to the disease. That, in turn, has inspired pushback from Nativist hate groups—even though the release is only temporary, and their detention will resume after they have sheltered with family until the pandemic eventually relents.
As Hayden reported, the first to oppose the measure was CIS. “No sooner had [ICE] announced the first case of a detainee testing positive for coronavirus than the Center began receiving calls and emails from media types asking if we agree that it now makes sense to release ‘vulnerable’ detainees,” wrote former ICE official Dan Cadman in a piece titled “ICE Should Continue to Detain Removable Aliens” on the CIS website. “The answer was no before this latest development, and I have not reconsidered.”
Another writer at CIS’s website, Andrew Arthur, argued: “Releasing ICE detainees takes them out of a facility where sanitary protections are readily available, testing is accessible, quarantine can be accomplished, and treatment is guaranteed. If that is not joining forces with the current pestilence, I am not sure what is. Detention is the best resistance to pestilence.”
FAIR’s website carried a similar attack by writer David Jaroslav: “Across the country, many organizations pushing open borders have rapidly latched on to the COVID-19 pandemic as an another excuse to try to get illegal aliens awaiting deportation out of custody and back into American communities.”
Its Facebook page promoted Jaroslav’s piece by claiming: “Across the country, many organizations pushing open borders have rapidly latched on to the COVID-19 pandemic as an another excuse to try to get illegal aliens awaiting deportation out of custody and back into American communities.”
Another FAIR writer sneered at a plea to get children detainees away from the facilities as a “blatantly transparent attempt to capitalize on a global health crisis by opportunistically playing on Americans’ heartstrings to achieve a political objectives that the pro-illegal-alien lobby has been promoting all along.”
Nativists generally oppose any assistance to immigrants during the pandemic. The anti-Muslim hate group ACT For America posted an attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota after she announced her support for a coronavirus-relief plan that would include aid for mixed-status communities. Its tweet claimed:
Ilhan Omar supports illegal immigrants BEFORE Americans!
A sitting member of congress spends more time advocating for illegal immigrants instead of Americans. Truly despicable!
Meanwhile, the ACLU and the SPLC have filed lawsuits in California and in Louisiana seeking emergency injunctions for the release of some detainees, including asylum seekers, who as ProPublic reported recently are being turned away by ICE at the border entirely, with the pandemic as justification, ignoring international asylum law.
“People in congregate environments—places where people live, eat, and sleep in close proximity—face increased risk of contracting COVID-19, as already evidenced by the rapid spread of the virus in cruise ships, nursing homes, and jails,” the ACLU lawsuit demanding the release of vulnerable detainees in California reads. These conditions, plaintiffs said, “are tinderboxes for rapid widespread infection within and beyond the facilities.”
Posted with permission from Daily Kos.