Sr. Darlene Pienschke, SDS, Desert Mission Ministry, Tucson, AZ

COVID-19 and ICE

By Sr. Darlene Pienschke, SDS

ICE Detention Centers are on the verge of becoming Coronavirus super spreaders. Hundreds of people have tested positive. There are reports of soap shortage and detainees report they are forced to use toothpaste to wash their hands. One detainee was threatened with solitary confinement for making a face mask. Last week, two ICE guards died from COVID-19. There is no way ICE can stop COVID-19 from spreading like wildfire in jails, which also puts surrounding communities at risk.

It is urgent that the government release and unite families immediately, or potentially hundreds will die inside detention centers. ICE has this power to release these who are detained (such as immigrants), but they are barely budging. This is not who we should be as a nation. We must double down on our values of compassion and care. It is time for humanity to be responsible and compassionate.

Concerned for the powerless caught in this life threatening ordeal, many, as I have, sent a petition to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, adding my name for urgent demands that ICE release everyone to unite all families immediately. Already, six children and over twelve adults have died in U.S. Immigration custody just this week. It is impossible to safely physically distance in prison or detention centers.

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