Class-action lawsuit filed against ICE officials in Batavia


BATAVIA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A class-action lawsuit has been filed against ICE officials at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and Prisoners Legal Services of New York say they are demanding that medically at-risk people at the facility be treated in compliance with CDC guidelines.

In Jones V. Wolf, the groups say it was determined that people who are 65 or older are considered to be at a higher risk of catching the virus and are entitled to more protections. People with other medical issues were also determined to need more protection.

These include single-occupancy cells, guaranteed access to soap and cleaning supplies and permission to eat in their cells.

The court decision says that if these protections cannot be met, the prisoners must be released.

The new lawsuit was filed because the groups say some people who fit the qualifications still aren’t receiving this kind of care.

“ICE officials are the only ones who know how many medically at-risk people are in their custody, and their decision to continue jailing those people without proper protections creates an unacceptable risk of death and serious illness,” Bobby Hodgson, staff attorney at the NYCLU, said. “The rate of transmission in the facility has been rapid and alarming, and ICE’s resistance to complying with the constitutional mandates announced in Jones requires immediate action from the court. No one’s life should be put at risk because they are stuck in ICE detention while they proceed with their immigration case.”

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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