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Buffalo Federal Detention Center

Ram Zallan

 

A Rochester-based organization wants Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Batavia to allow a donation of hygiene supplies in order to protect detainees from coronavirus at their facility. 

ICE officials say they can’t accept the donations and that detainees have sufficient access to soap and water for sanitary purposes. 

NYCLU | photo provided by Bobby Hodgson

 

The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia on Monday. 

The lawsuit calls for ICE to protect all detainees who are considered at risk of complications related to COVID-19 as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control.

Noelle E. C. Evans | WXXI News

In a matter of three weeks, 49 detainees at an immigration detention center in Batavia tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

One of those detainees, Cristian Diaz Arvelo, said he first heard he had COVID-19 when a guard at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility told him he was moving to another unit within the center.

“Not even the doctors come, just they, one of the officers came: ‘Oh you gonna be moved to a unit,’” Arvelo says. “I asked them why. ‘Oh, you tested positive.’ That’s all they say.” 

Noelle E. C. Evans | WXXI News

For the second week in a row, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among detainees at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia has more than tripled in a week. 

Forty-five detainees have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Monday. That’s more than any other detention facility in the country. 

One of those who tested positive for the coronavirus is a man in his 30s from the Dominican Republic. His attorney, Siana McLean, said he also has asthma and high blood pressure. 

Noelle E. C. Evans | WXXI News

Eleven detainees have tested positive for the coronavirus at an immigration detention center in Batavia as of Wednesday. The number of confirmed cases has almost tripled since last week. 

Last Thursday, when the first numbers out of Batavia were released, four detainees had tested positive for the virus.

Noelle E. C. Evans | WXXI News

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Thursday evening that four detainees at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia have tested positive for COVID-19.

Those identified include a 62-year-old detainee from Pakistan, a 29-year-old from Somalia, a 37-year-old from Honduras and a 31-year-old fromHonduras. No information regarding gender was provided.

ICE officials said that “those who have come in contact with these individuals have been cohorted (grouped together) and are being monitored for symptoms.”

Noelle E. C. Evans | WXXI News

 

Siana McClean is an immigration attorney and the regional American Immigration Lawyers Association representative. She works with detainees at the Federal Detention Center in Batavia. Her drive to the court involves crossing the U.S. Canadian Border. 

But since March 16th, she hasn’t been making the trip. She's worried about the coronavirus. 

Noelle E. C. Evans | WXXI News

Advocates and immigration lawyers are calling for the release of detainees at the Buffalo Federal Detention Center in Batavia amid concerns of a possible COVID-19 outbreak inside.

Rosa Santana is the program director at First Friends of New Jersey and New York near Newark, New Jersey. The project works directly with about 250 detainees and operates a hotline.