Senior staff attorney Miriam Aukerman has the following reaction:
“Keeping people locked up in close quarters in immigration detention puts everyone inside the jail and outside at risk of becoming extremely ill or dying. This is what our clients have been facing as ICE has them trapped behind bars where they cannot practice social distancing as health experts have urged. We are grateful that the Court recognized that terrible danger that our clients face, and that the six of them can continue with their immigration cases in the safety of their homes. This decision is one step closer toward the release of many other people still trapped inside Calhoun County Jail who face serious illness or death if they contract COVID-19.”
Two powerful quotes from Judge Judith Levy’s 6.28.20 decision:
“Plaintiffs are likely to experience irreparable injury absent an injunction, both in the form of loss of health or life and in the form of an invasion of their constitutional rights.”
“Whether the Calhoun County Correctional Facility has a detainee population of three or 300, it fails to meet public health standards if those detainees cannot socially distance themselves. And despite Defendants’ efforts, such distancing remains illusory. The record is replete with declarations citing continued close quarters and closer contacts…”
The individuals released are:
- Waad Barash: Mr. Barash is 56 years old and had tested positive for tuberculosis when he arrived at Calhoun County Correctional Facility. Mr. Barash has a history of smoking and suffers from hypertension, for which he has not received medication while held in detention.
- Lenche Krcoska: Ms. Krcoska is 52 years old and suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and a heart arrythmia. Her doctors have prescribed her a specific diet, which she is unable to adhere to while in detention.
- Sergio Perez Pavon: Mr. Pavon is 36 years old and suffers from type 2 diabetes. While detained he has become insulin dependent.
- Yohandry Ley Santana: Mr. Ley Santana is 33 years old and suffers from asthma for which he has been hospitalized numerous times and twice intubated. Most recently in January 2019 he was hospitalized with severe bronchitis and allergies. Mr. Ley Santana has been denied his allergy medication and prescribed inhaler.
- Johanna Whernman: Ms. Whernman is 57 years old and suffers from asthma and uses an inhaler. While detained she has not consistently had access to her inhaler. She has a history of being hospitalized multiple times due to side effects from her asthma medication.
- William Whernman: Mr Whernman is 22 years old and suffers from asthma and uses an inhaler. He has not consistently received his inhaler while detained. He also suffers from clinical obesity.