Warner, Kaine press Trump on COVID-19 outbreak at Farmville ICE detention center
Eighty percent of the detainees and 26 staffers at the Farmville ICE detention facility have tested positive for COVID-19, and U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are pointing to the decision of the Trump administration to transfer detainees in from hotspots in Arizona and Florida as the reason.
Now Warner and Kaine are urging President Trump to work with the CDC to create and deploy teams of epidemiologists to the detention center to work through the situation.
“The Farmville ICE facility and surrounding community now face a dire situation where almost every detainee at the Farmville facility has tested positive for COVID-19. This presents a clear risk to individuals within the facility, but also endangers the broader community as facility staff and released detainees have interaction with the general public,” the senators wrote in a letter in which they requested that the administration conduct an overall assessment of the situation at the immigration detention facility – a request that has been backed by Gov. Ralph Northam.
Warner and Kaine have repeatedly pushed the administration to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia detention facilities. In June, after a transfer that resulted in a spike of more than 50 COVID-19 cases at Farmville, the senators urged the Department of Homeland Security to prioritize the health of detainees and workers.
Nearly a month later, with approximately 80 percent of the Farmville population testing positive for COVID-19, the aenators once again pressed ICE and DHS to stop transfers between facilities. They also posed a series of questions regarding the measures in place to safeguard the health of people in custody, staff members, and the community.
Full text of today’s letter is available here.