WASHINGTON — Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, backtracked on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s announcement that it would curb immigration enforcement in light of COVID-19.

The following is a statement from Andrea Flores, deputy director of policy for American Civil Liberties Union’s Equality Division:

“This foolish statement will jeopardize the health and security of all of us. Rather than heeding public health experts’ calls to ensure individuals are not afraid to access care, Cuccinelli appears to want to sabotage our nation’s response to this pandemic. ICE should immediately suspend any enforcement activities that could deter individuals from accessing care. People and their families must feel safe to leave their homes and seek medical help or gather the necessary supplies to keep their families safe, regardless of immigration status. If ICE doesn’t give people that assurance, it puts everyone in more danger.

“There is ample precedent for curbing immigration enforcement during public emergencies. In 2018, DHS suspended immigration enforcement in areas affected by Tropical Storm Florence. The same occurred in 2018 for Northern California areas affected by wildfires. ICE must act now to both prioritize public health and ensure that people do not fear seeking the medical care they need because of their immigration status.”

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