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ICE Deliberately Limited COVID-19 Testing at Bakersfield Immigration Jail

August 07, 2020 (1 min read)

Andrea Castillo, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 6, 2020

"Last month, as the coronavirus spread through federal immigration detention centers around the country, officials at the Mesa Verde facility in Bakersfield rejected a suggestion to test all detainees there because it would be difficult to quarantine those who tested positive, the officials said. ... On Thursday, a federal judge in San Francisco issued a searing ruling, saying that ICE has “responded to the health crisis in such a cavalier fashion” that it has “lost the right to be trusted.”  “The documentary evidence shows that the defendants have avoided widespread testing of staff and detainees at the facility, not for lack of tests, but for fear that positive test results would require them to implement safety measures that they apparently felt were not worth the trouble,” Judge Vincent Chhabria wrote in granting the temporary restraining order.  Chhabria ordered officials to administer weekly rapid COVID-19 tests to all detainees at the facility and not take in new detainees."