What's at Stake
On March 31, 2020, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation of Southern California and the ACLU’s National Prison Project filed Robles v. Wolf on behalf of immigrants detained at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center. The lawsuit seeks the release of detainees who, due to age or preexisting medical conditions, are highly vulnerable to serious illness and death in the event of a COVID-19 infection.
Continuing to hold them poses an enormous risk to their health and safety. Given that incidence of COVID-19 is almost inevitable at Adelanto, and the two main preventative practices, social distancing and hygiene, are made impossible in detention settings, releasing vulnerable individuals is the only meaningful way to prevent their exposure. The release of the most vulnerable people in custody will also lessen the likelihood of a vast number of people becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 at the same time, which would contribute to the healthcare system being overwhelmed. The ACLU is calling for the immediate release of the plaintiffs on the basis that their continued detention would deny them their due process protections. Additionally, it would pose a risk of harm so grave as to violate the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.