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Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Immigration Detention Centers Requires the Release of Detainees (American Journal of Public Health)

Publication Topics

Access to Health Care; Family, Caregiving and Parental Issues; COVID-19; Immigrant; Hispanic/Latino

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


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<a onclick="OpenPopUpPage('http:\u002f\\u002f_layouts\u002flistform.aspx?PageType=4\u0026ListId={7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}\u0026ID=1889\u0026RootFolder=*', RefreshPage); return false;" href=";ListId={7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}&amp;ID=1889&amp;RootFolder=*">William D. Lopez</a>

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<a onclick="OpenPopUpPage('http:\u002f\\u002f_layouts\u002flistform.aspx?PageType=4\u0026ListId={7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}\u0026ID=1162\u0026RootFolder=*', RefreshPage); return false;" href=";ListId={7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}&amp;ID=1162&amp;RootFolder=*">Maria-Elena Young, PhD, MPH</a>

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Summary: Immigration detention centers are densely populated facilities in which restrictive conditions limit detainees' abilities to engage in social distancing or hygiene practices designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With tens of thousands of adults and children in more than 200 immigration detention centers across the United States, immigration detention centers are likely to experience COVID-19 outbreaks and add substantially to the population of those infected. Despite compelling evidence indicating a heightened risk of infection among detainees, state and federal governments have done little to protect the health of detained immigrants. An evidence-based public health framework must guide the COVID-19 response in immigration detention centers.

Authors draw on the hierarchy of controls framework to demonstrate how immigration detention centers are failing to implement even the least effective control strategies. Drawing on this framework and recent legal and medical advocacy efforts, authors argue that safely releasing detainees from immigration detention centers into their communities is the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in immigration detention settings. Failure to do so will result in infection and death among those detained and deepen existing health and social inequities.


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Journal Article: Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Immigration Detention Centers Requires the Release of Detainees

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Press Release

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Version: 3.0
Created at 4/16/2021 5:13 AM by i:0#.f|uclachissqlmembershipprovider|celeste
Last modified at 4/16/2021 9:02 AM by i:0#.f|uclachissqlmembershipprovider|celeste