Biden admin. keeps 22K people in ICE jails amid COVID surge

The administration of US President Joe Biden has placed a record number of migrants under detention, in a move that heightened alarm among advocates who call for the prisons to be closed amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the facilities.

The detention centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are currently house some 22,000 immigrants — 7000 more than those detained by the administration of former President Donald Trump.

According to Press TV, the ICE has reported major surges in coronavirus infections in its detention facilities.

Public health officials warned that the increasingly crowded facilities can be the fertile ground for further outbreaks.

Health experts say that several factors were to blame for the surge in the virus infections, insufficient testing and lax COVID-19 safety measures, and transfers of detainees between facilities across the nation.

Biden re-opened Trump-era detention facilities in the country to lock up migrants arrested by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Border guards arrested over 1.7 million migrants in 2021 fiscal year. The figures soared to the highest levels ever recorded, according to unpublished CBP data seen by the Washington Post in October.

Biden, who had promised to put in place a more “humane” approach to immigration policy, been sharply criticized by both fellow Democrats and Republicans for its handling of the crisis at the border.

The president’s order to use Trump-era detainment facilities to house migrants, including children – which Democrats would often use to accuse Trump of putting “kids in cages” – has drawn criticism from both sides.

As another attempt to tackle the issue at the border, the Democrat resumed another controversial Trump-era program requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico, while their cases are processed in the United States.

The latest program left tens of thousands of migrants stranded in the Mexican city of Tapachula, which rights activists describe as a dead end for people who are waiting to get permission to continue their journey into the US.

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