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May 11, 2023Washington, DC, United StatesEnforcement and Removal, Covid-19

ICE adds thousands of accessible detention beds

ICE updates detention guidelines to align with the current CDC guidance for COVID-19

WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) today issued Post Pandemic Emergency Guidelines and Protocols that will increase the number of accessible beds by several thousand. These guidelines reflect the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency and latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Under the new Post Pandemic Emergency Guidelines and Protocols, ICE is eliminating the requirements that it perform COVID-19 tests on all detainees at intake, transfer, or release, and that it quarantine all detained noncitizens upon intake. These changes will increase the number of accessible beds in ICE’s detention network and allow ICE to process detained noncitizens for intake more quickly.

“By aligning our protocols with current CDC guidance, we can more effectively manage our detention centers and care for those in our custody,” said ERO Executive Associate Director Corey A. Price. “ERO is committed to ensuring people in our custody are safe and receive appropriate medical care. As with other communicable diseases, ERO will implement best practices and follow CDC guidance to mitigate risks related to COVID-19.”

Under the new Post Pandemic Emergency Guidelines and Protocols, ICE facilities will only be required to test asymptomatic detainees upon intake, transfer or release if the facility is at an elevated risk level or the country to which the detainee will be removed requires a negative COVID test. Facility risk assessments based on facility COVID-19 spread and updated CDC community measures of COVID-19 spread will continue to guide operations as needed; if a facility has a high level of risk, the facility will implement higher level protocols. ICE will continue to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to detainees. ICE will continue to abide by all relevant court orders.

ICE continuously manages complex infectious diseases, such as measles, mumps, chicken pox and tuberculosis. Treatment and prevention protocols for these and other communicable diseases are informed by current medical guidance and are updated, as necessary, per changing CDC guidelines.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, from February 2020 to May 1, 2023, ICE tested more than 1 million detainees in ICE custody and confirmed 52,714 cases of COVID-19. As of May 1, 2023, ICE provided vaccines to 74,360 detainees, including 6,454 booster shots.