Citing conditions that amount to ”cruel and unusual punishment,” a Miami federal judge ordered U.S. immigration authorities Thursday night to release hundreds of detainees held at three South Florida detention centers.
In a strongly worded 12-page order filed late Thursday, U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has acted with “deliberate indifference” to the condition of its detainees. She ordered the agency to report to her within three days how it plans to cut its non-criminal and medically vulnerable populations by the hundreds.
The judge also ordered the agency to submit weekly reports on the releases. After 10 days, ICE is to begin filing twice-weekly reports. Within two days, she ordered, ICE shall also provide masks to all detainees and replace them once a week.
“There is record evidence demonstrating that ICE has failed in its duty to protect the safety and general well-being of the petitioners,” Cooke wrote. “Social distancing at Krome is not only practically impossible, the conditions are becoming worse every day. Further, ICE has failed to provide detainees in some detention centers with masks, soap and other cleaning supplies, and failed to ensure that all detainees housed at the three detention centers can practice social distancing.”
She added: “Such failures amount to cruel and unusual punishment because they are exemplary of deliberate indifference.... Accordingly, there is sufficient evidence in this record to determine that the present conditions at the three detention centers constitute a violation of the Petitioners’ Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights.”
The judge said that detainees with non-violent criminal records or underlying health conditions who qualify for release can be subject to detention alternatives like parole, telephone monitoring, physical check-ins or GPS monitoring through electronic ankle bracelets.
Friday, May 01, 2020
Good for Judge Cooke!
The Herald covers her 12 page order which tries to get ICE to actually address the virus in a reasonable way at Krome: