Immigration officials are reportedly claiming that more than 2,000 detainees are under quarantine due to an “outbreak of mumps and other diseases,” CNN is reporting.
“As of March 7, 2019, there was a total of 2,287 detainees cohorted for exposure to a detainee with a contagious condition,” ICE spokesperson Brendan Raedy said in a statement to CNN.
They report that in the past two years, officials never had detainees that were sick with the mumps until now. This is alarming for a variety of reasons. For starters, there’s already a record amount of detainees in ICE detention. The Daily Beast reports that more than 50,000 undocumented immigrants are in jails and detention centers. Secondly, there’s also evidence that some detention centers are unsanitary and unhealthy for detainees. With more people crammed in tight quarters living in terrible conditions, contagion is inevitable. We should also mention that undocumented immigrants are also, for one reason or another, dying while in ICE custody.
Unfortunately, some people on the right may assume that thousands of undocumented immigrants are bringing in disease into the U.S., however, like any illness if one person is sick, others around them are likely to contract it. To make matters worse, if the detention centers are in lousy shape and immigration officials are not handling the situation correctly, the disease will just spread.
“Migrants travel north from countries where poverty and disease are rampant, and their health can be aggravated by the physical toll of the journey. Many individuals we encounter may have never seen a doctor, received immunizations, or lived in sanitary conditions. Close quarters on trains and buses can hasten the spread of communicable diseases,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said during congressional testimony last week, according to CNN.
When one individual is sick, and then is stuck with others in tight quarters, they will infect others. Even if they’re not ill, they have to be quarantined just to make sure they’re not affected.
Christian Mejia, an undocumented 19-year-old, told Newsweek that he was set to leave a detention center but because there was an outbreak of the mumps, he had to remain on lockdown in the detention center.
“When there is just one person who is sick, everybody pays,” Mejia said, according to Newsweek.
“ICE takes very seriously the health, safety, and welfare of those in our care. ICE is committed to ensuring the welfare of all those in the agency’s custody, including providing access to necessary and appropriate medical care,” Raedy said in a statement to CNN.