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ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Requirements


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On April 10, 2020, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) released the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Requirements (PRR), a guidance document developed in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that builds upon previously issued guidance. Specifically, the PRR sets forth specific mandatory requirements expected to be adopted by all detention facilities housing ICE detainees, as well as best practices for such facilities, to ensure that detainees are appropriately housed and that available mitigation measures are implemented during this unprecedented public health crisis.

On June 22, 2020, ICE ERO released a revised version of the PRR, which expanded the list of COVID-19 symptoms; identified additional vulnerable populations potentially at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19; provided that if single isolation rooms are unavailable, individuals with confirmed COVID-19 should be isolated together as a cohort separate from other detainees, including those with pending test results and that suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases maintain separation of groups by common criteria; and added facility compliance measures and updated visitation protocols.

On July 28, 2020, ICE released a newly revised version of the PRR, which identifies additional populations potentially at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19; provides updated guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE); updated guidance on hygiene practices; offers additional guidance when transporting a detainee with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19; includes direct reference to CDC guidance for individuals in medical isolation in detention facilities; and includes an updated testing section based on recently released CDC guidance.

On September 4, 2020, ICE released a revised version of the PRR, a dynamic document that was developed in consultation with the CDC and is updated as new information becomes available and best practices emerge. This version of the PRR updates the list of COVID-19 symptoms recognized by the CDC; provides additional guidance on protocols for asymptomatic staff who have been identified as close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case; clarifies that whenever possible, ICE will limit transfers of both ICE detainees and non-ICE detained populations to and from other jurisdictions and facilities unless necessary for medical evaluation, medical isolation/quarantine, clinical care, extenuating security concerns, to facilitate release or removal, or to prevent overcrowding; updates isolation protocols for COVID-19 cases to incorporate the latest CDC guidance on discontinuing transmission-based precautions using a symptom-based or time-based strategy rather than a testing-based strategy; and provides additional information on testing for asymptomatic individuals with known or suspected recent exposure.


Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/04/2020