Families urge ICE to free detained loved ones amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Community leaders and family members gathered at Foley Square in lower Manhattan Wednesday to plead for the release of their loved ones currently being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jose Cabarello was released on bond from a detention center Wednesday after he says he suffered from flu-like conditions and struggled to get medical care over the past several weeks. He says the cramped conditions and lack of medical resources could create a disaster.

Cabarello was among those who gathered because he says the people inside don’t have a voice and he’s worried for their safety.

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Jorge Muniz, of Sunset Park ICE Watch, says they are asking for the governors of New York and New Jersey to release those being detained from the state jails to avoid a major health crisis.

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"This is a public health emergency. We can't have our loved ones locked in there when the federal government is advising us that we need to be avoiding large gatherings," says Muniz.

News 12 reached out to ICE, which said it didn't have a comment on the rally but to check its website for what it's doing in response to COVID-19.


A statement on its website says in part: 

"The health, welfare and safety of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees is one of the agency's highest priorities. Since the onset of reports of COVID-19, ICE epidemiologists have been tracking the outbreak, regularly updating infection prevention and control protocols, and issuing guidance to ICE health service corps (IHSC) staff for the screening and management of potential exposure among detainees."

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