In the wake of increased COVID-19 cases in detention facilities, Democratic senators are pressing the Biden administration to administer COVID-19 boosters as well as “vaccine and booster information” to illegal immigrants in ICE custody.
The Democrats cite statistics in a letter to acting ICE Director Tae Johnson sent this week that show the number of COVID-19 cases has increased by 800 percent since the beginning of the year and that at the end of January, 14% of the detainee population (at least 3,038) was under isolation or monitoring for COVID-19.
“ICE is neglecting to deliver COVID-19 booster doses to those in ICE detention, despite the CDC’s guidelines,” the Democrats wrote. “ICE has only given 671 booster injections countrywide to the nearly 22,000 inmates in ICE custody per day as of January 6, 2022.
Booster shots are not being made available to people in custody, according to advocates, and instructional materials concerning booster injections are not routinely provided.”
Senators Ben Cardin, D-Md., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Edward Markey, D-Mass., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Cory Booker, D-N.J. are among the signatories to the letter.
The congressmen want ICE to identify and deliver vaccination boosters to eligible inmates, give detention facilities guidelines on how to provide vaccines “quickly and consistently,” and “promote accessible vaccine and booster education for all detained persons.”
They also want to know how many prisoners have been fully and partially vaccinated, as well as given booster injections, and how many have been offered immunizations and instruction “in their chosen language.”
Although it has ordered vaccines for tourists at ports of entry, the Biden administration has not imposed any vaccination mandates for illegal immigrants who are already in the country.
Title 42 public health provisions have remained in force throughout the Biden administration, although they are being used for less and fewer migrants.
Last year, Fox News reported that almost 30% of individuals in detention had refused the COVID-19 vaccination.
The Biden administration is considering mandating migrants aged 5 and above to undergo the COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of crossing the US-Mexico border and being placed in immigration proceedings, according to Axios.