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Almost half of staffers at ICE detention center diagnosed with COVID-19

Almost half of staffers at ICE detention center diagnosed with COVID-19
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Almost half of the staff at the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona have tested positive for COVID-19, two employees and 14 migrants at the center told NBC News.

CoreCivic, the company that owns the detention center, confirmed to NBC that 137 out of 300 employees have tested positive. CoreCivic did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

Lawyers for the Florence Project, a nonprofit pushing to release migrants from custody, told NBC that migrants they represent told them they noticed a reduced presence of guards at the facility. 

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"There is fear in our staff. How can you work in a place where you fear for your life or fear for your family?" one of the workers told NBC. 

Migrants told attorneys with the Florence Project that they were under lockdown from 7 p.m. until 3 p.m. and were unable to leave their cells.

Core Civic said the detainees were subject to cohorting procedures that grouped people together to try to prevent the spread of disease.

"Sometimes we don't have enough staff to let out a pod," one of the employees told NBC in July, referring to cellblocks of about 50 people. "They stay on lockdown because we don't have enough staff to open that pod."

According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), 242 migrants at the Eloy Detention Center have tested positive. A total of 836 people in ICE custody have tested positive for the virus.