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COVID Becomes Cover For Sweeping Out ICE Detention Facilities

COVID Becomes Cover for Sweeping Out ICE Detention Facilities

The United States is seeding the corona virus across Central America as it deports carriers and actively ill deportees to Mexico and Central American nations. The health minister of Guatemala has recently captured the threat to his region, calling the U.S. “the Wuhan of the Americas.”

Guatemala had been refusing to accept planeloads of deportees in recent weeks until pressure from the U.S., anxious to clear out not only obviously ill detainees but as many men and woman in detention as possible, increased and flights temporarily resumed last week.

The COVID pandemic is allowing cover for the Trump administration to violate its own policies, as well as continuing to flout court orders mandating due process and humane treatment of detainees. Expectations for asylum admission and fair hearings for refugees and others in ICE and CBP detention are being fully reset. “They will try to reset to zero,” one judicial activist in New York City observes.

“This health crisis will be the cover to eliminate admission of people fleeing abuse and death, and to sweep up anyone without papers, or without a voice to be heard when they even have legal and moral right to be here. Zero will be the new watchword. Closed.”

The Associated Press reported earlier this week that forty-four Guatemalans deported on one flight from the United States tested positive for COVID-19 this week, according to a Guatemalan government official.

In recent days, suspicion of COVID has shifted from reason to hide detainees from contact with family, counsel and outside observers, and has now become the excuse to deport without notice or legal process.

Guatemalan presidential spokesman Carlos Sandoval told the AP that “Guatemala is working with United States authorities to revalidate the health of Guatemalans returned in recent days.” He said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Guatemala’s national laboratory would retest all those who were found positive and negative.

As the AP reported:

The flight with the infected deportees arrived in Guatemala’s capital Monday carrying 76 Guatemalans. Three deportees displaying corona virus symptoms were immediately taken for testing.

When one of those tests came back positive others who had been quarantined at the airport were tested and 43 more resulted positive, said the official with knowledge of the situation who had not been authorized to share the information publicly and requested anonymity.

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