ICE reports over 230 active COVID-19 infections at Arizona facility

ICE reports over 230 active COVID-19 infections at Arizona facility
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Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reported that there are more than 230 active coronavirus cases in one of their facilities in Arizona. 

As of Saturday, La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz., has reported a total of 356 cases in the facility since the start of the pandemic, of which 233 are currently in isolation in ICE custody. 

In total, 850 of the 21,066 people in ICE custody across the country are currently in isolation after testing positive for coronavirus. Since the start of the pandemic 5,300 people in ICE custody have tested positive for COVID-19. An additional 45 ICE detention staff have tested positive as well. 

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La Palma has the highest number of cases by far, followed by the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia, which currently has 108 cases. Only La Palma and Stewart have more than 100 cases, according to ICE data.

ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

ICE spokeswoman Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe told CBS News the agency upped their testing at La Palma by testing 1,000 detainees, most of whom were asymptomatic. 

Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project, an immigration advocacy group in Arizona, has long advocated for the release of people in ICE custody. 

“The government either does not have the interest or the ability to contain this virus inside detention centers, and people’s lives are on the line," Laura St. John, legal director of the Florence Project, said in a statement.

Florence and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a federal lawsuit earlier this year on behalf of migrants detained at La Palma who claimed they were forced to clean the center where they were being held as they were fed rotten food and denied protection from the coronavirus.