Immigrants’ Rights Organizations Reach Settlement in Case Brought to Protect Medically Vulnerable People Detained by ICE

Affiliate: ACLU of Washington
May 30, 2023 5:00 pm

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SEATTLE – The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington approved a settlement agreement today in Favela Avendaño v. Bostock, a case brought in 2020 by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Washington, and the Northwest Immigrants’ Rights Project (NWIRP) on behalf of immigrants detained at the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington who are at high risk for serious illness or death in the event of COVID-19 infection.

The settlement provides a number of protections for medically vulnerable class members detained at the facility, including provisions regarding the allocation of COVID-19 testing, therapeutic drugs, vaccines and boosters; screening persons brought to the facility; safeguards on transfers into the facility; and consideration of release for people not subject to mandatory detention during an outbreak at the facility consistent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy.

“This agreement provides robust protections regarding the Northwest Detention’s Center’s COVID-19 practices and policies,” said Aaron Korthuis, Staff Attorney at NWIRP. “It ensures that even while the federal government moves on from the pandemic, ICE must continue to take steps to protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19 to help prevent renewed and dangerous outbreaks of COVID-19 at NWDC.”

The settlement also requires regular reporting regarding COVID-19 related illness, hospitalization, or death of detainees, vaccination statistics, transfers, and a list of all class members at the facility.

“This settlement provides much needed and long-overdue relief for people detained at NWDC who have been at an increased risk of suffering, illness, and even death,” said Eunice Cho, senior staff attorney with the ACLU National Prison Project. “It also sends a clear message to ICE that it cannot continue its extreme recklessness and blatant disregard for the health and well-being of detained people.”

The settlement is online here:

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