Americas: release migrants and asylum-seekers from detention during covid-19 pandemic

“Our lives are in danger because there are people here who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and there is nothing we can do. We have no way of protecting ourselves. This is a time bomb for our lives. We pray that someone will do something.”

These are the words of Kelly Gonzales, a trans woman held in immigration detention in the USA for over 2.5 years. In Mexico, a Guatemalan asylum seeker died after a protest that led to a fire in a detention center. Refugees trying to find safety in Trinidad and Tobago continue to be criminalized and detained, even during COVID-19.

As the world responds to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis unfolding and each one of us seeks a safe place to stay during the pandemic, authorities in the USA, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Curacao, and Mexico continue to collectively detain tens of thousands of adults, families, and children in immigration detention facilities.

People in crowded detention facilities are some of the most at risk of being exposed to COVID-19, and often they have inadequate access to health care.

If being locked down at home is scary, imagine being locked down indefinitely in detention with a high risk of being infected.

Tell the governments of the USA, Mexico, Canada, Curacao, and Trinidad and Tobago that they must immediately release migrants and asylum-seekers from immigration detention so they can be safe from COVID-19. People like Kelly deserve to be safe and healthy!