Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) this week joined their Senate and House colleagues in reintroducing the bicameral COVID-19 in Immigration Detention Data Act, legislation that would require immigration-detention facilities to collect and publicly report data about COVID-19 cases, vaccine distribution, and the preventative measures in place in these facilities.
“From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have called on the Department of Homeland Security to improve health and safety measures at our nation’s detention facilities to protect detainees and employees alike,” said the Senators. “Unfortunately, the Trump administration dragged their feet, and the crowded and unsanitary conditions led to COVID-19 outbreaks at detention centers across the country. This bill will create federal reporting standards and ensure that we treat everyone with dignity as we work to get ahead of COVID-19 here in the Silver State and across the country.”
The COVID-19 in Immigration Detention Data Transparency Act provides public health experts, policymakers, immigration advocates, and the public with critical information about COVID-19 in immigration detention facilities. The bill creates reporting standards for agencies and facilities responsible for the custody and care of immigrant detainees.
The bill would do the following:
- Require ICE, CBP, ORR, and contract facilities to collect and submit COVID-19 data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a weekly basis and regularly publish this data on their websites. The data will be stored in a manner that protects an individual’s privacy and may not be used against them in any future immigration proceedings.
- Require ICE, CBP, ORR, and contract facilities to collect and submit data on COVID-19 vaccination progress to the CDC on a weekly basis and regularly publish this data on their websites.
- Mandate that ICE, CBP, and ORR report to Congress on the protocols and practices in place at each detention facility under their jurisdiction, outlining the health standards, the standards of medical care provided to detainees, and the sanitation practices at each facility.
- Require ICE, CBP, ORR, and the head of each contract facility to report to Congress on the efforts made to ensure detained individuals have access to legal counsel.
- Ensure that detained individuals tested for COVID-19 have confidential access to all their test results and medical records, in their preferred language.
The COVID-19 in Immigration Detention Data Transparency Act is endorsed by AILA, Amnesty International USA, the American Public Health Association, Church World Service, Immigration Hub, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Kino Border Initiative, the National Immigration Law Center, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Union for Reform Judaism, RAICES, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Vera Institute of Justice.