Coronavirus

First ICE Detainee Tests Positive For COVID-19 In Texas

The 40-year-old from Mexico had recently been transferred into ICE custody from the Harris County Jail.

One detainee has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Livingston, Texas.
A detainee has tested positive for COVID-19 at an immigration detention center in Livingston, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The 40-year-old Mexican man who tested positive has been quarantined since he was taken into custody and is receiving care, according to an ICE official.
The man had recently been transferred in from the Harris County Sheriff's Office. At least forty-six Harris County jail inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.

A spokesman from the office of Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez did not respond to requests for comment.
This is the first confirmed case of a detainee testing positive for COVID-19 in Texas immigrant detention centers. The state holds more detained immigrants than any other state in the country, around 40% of the national detained population.
Some 440 detainees are currently held at the ICE facility, located 70 miles northeast of Houston.
In Texas, at least three employees at immigration detention facilities have also tested positive for COVID-19.
ICE reports 77 detainees have tested positive nationwide. At the beginning of April, that number was less than 10.

The coronavirus is also starting to spread in Houston-area shelters that house detained migrant children.

Seven staff members at a Baytown shelter have tested positive for COVID-19, according to BCFS Health and Human Services, which operates the shelter. Staff who tested positive for the disease are in quarantine.

Lawyers and medical professionals have advocated for the release of immigrants from detention to avoid a full-fledged outbreak in these facilities known for their substandard health care. The ACLU of Texas last week sued ICE to release four detainees who they say are at higher risk from coronavirus due to respiratory issues.
The detained immigrants are being held at an ICE facility in Conroe. At least two detention officers who work there have tested positive for COVID-19.
The suit argues ICE isn't providing what detainees need to stay safe, including face masks, basic hygiene and social distancing measures.

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Elizabeth Trovall

Elizabeth Trovall

Immigration Reporter

Elizabeth Trovall is an immigration reporter for Houston Public Media. She joined the News 88.7 team after several years abroad in Santiago, Chile, where she reported on business, energy, politics and culture. Trovall's work has been featured on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, Latino...

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