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Report: ICE Kicks Mentally Ill Prisoners to Street With No Notice to Counsel, Families

September 17, 2021 (1 min read)

Erica Bryant, VERA, Sept. 2021

"[A]ttorneys report this pattern: people who have been declared mentally incompetent due to cognitive disabilities or mental illnesses are ejected from immigration detention facilities without any notice to their attorneys, families, or caregivers and are left to fend for themselves in places like parking lots and bus stations, with only the clothes they had when they were arrested and debit cards they often can’t activate. Some are never found.  While legal service providers have reported unsafe releases from immigration detention for years, many say that the problem worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, as ICE abruptly released people in undignified and dangerous manners; people who were sick with or at high risk of contracting the virus. Despite their obvious health needs and medical complications, many people were literally abandoned on the street."