SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Border Report) — The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of four people in custody who are afraid they’ll catch the coronavirus.
The four are undocumented migrants awaiting trial for entering the U.S. illegally.
Two are being detained at the Otay Mesa Detention Center near the San Diego-Mexico border, where two employees and a detainee recently tested positive for COVID-19.
The other two plaintiffs are being housed at a facility in Imperial County, located between San Diego County and Arizona.
Their lawyer says all four have existing medical conditions. One has leukemia, another lung disease. The other two have HIV.
The ACLU said their clients’ medical history leaves them vulnerable in environments where many people are housed in close quarters, like a detention facility.
“There’s a lack of access to gloves, masks,” said ACLU Attorney Monika Langarica. “It’s impossible to practice social distancing because they bunk with others, they share showers, toilets and common spaces.”
Langarica said her clients are likely to catch the coronavirus if they remain in custody.
“Our concern here is that if our plaintiffs remain detained they are going to become severely ill at best of die at worst,” Langarica said.
Langarica and the ACLU aren’t sure when the case will be heard.
She said they feel confident because the courts have already granted releases to others with medical conditions.
A spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection said it wouldn’t comment due to pending litigation.
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