The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) has chartered hundreds of flights with deported immigrants who were ill with Covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to research by The New York Times and the Marshall Project.
Research shows how the overcrowded conditions of some immigration detention centers, the paucity of evidence, and the fact that transfers have been in place since March have caused ICE to spread the virus both within and outside the US borders.
The investigation has confirmed that hundreds of deportees with Covid-19 have been handed over to their countries of origin since March. Since March, ICE has deported more than 40,000 immigrants, most of them to Central America, where there have been cases of Covid-19 patients who were transferred to their countries of origin despite the risk of contagion.
At least four deportees interviewed by the media tested positive for Covid-19 shortly after returning to their countries in India, Haiti, Guatemala and El Salvador. ICE has so far confirmed some 3,000 positive cases of Covid-19 in its civilian detention centers across the country, despite research showing that in many cases people who later tested positive or showed clear symptoms were not tested. of the new disease.
The New York Times has investigated more than 750 national flights by ICE, as well as another 200 destined for other countries between June and March, most of them to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
The latter two have accepted more than 6,000 deportees since March, despite having restrictions in place to prevent the pandemic from worsening.
Only Guatemala expressed its disagreement with Washington over the fact that infected people arrived.
The Trump Administration has pressured deportation countries of origin with visa restrictions if they opposed repatriation flights.
So far, some 11 countries have confirmed that they have received sick deportees with Covid-19, many of whom may have been infected by conditions in detention centers in the United States.
The ICE limits itself to making sample tests of the people who are going to be deported to other countries and only performs generalized temperature checks.
The immigration agency says it is following the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in its procedures.
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