OTAY MESA, Calif — The Otay Mesa Detention Center has the most COVID-19 cases of any immigration detention facility in the country.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 people have tested positive for the disease at the center.
Concerns over health and well-being at ICE detention centers have some officials calling for the release of some detainees during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said “the horrifying conditions at Otay Mesa Detention Center are unacceptable.”
“Every day that officials continue to lock up low-risk and vulnerable people is another day that people in U.S. custody along with countless facility and court personnel, legal representatives, witnesses, and family members are put at risk of a preventable death from a deadly virus,” Harris wrote.
“We are in a moment of crisis that requires leaders to respond swiftly and humanely in the interest of public health. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has failed to take sufficient commonsense actions that would save lives. That needs to change—now.”
Harris said “vulnerable and low-risk detained individuals” should be removed from detention centers and placed on a program for bond, parole or another alternative to detention.
FOX 5 spoke with San Diegan Marc Adam, who protested outside the facility Sunday with a speaker and a banner draped around his car with the words “Let my people go.”
“I am trying to affirm. For those who are trapped inside, there is someone who cares, someone who is listening, someone who sees them,” Adam said.
ICE said it is following Centers for Disease Control guidelines and hasn’t sent new detainees to the facility.