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ACLU Alleges ICE Has Stockpile Of COVID-19 Tests, But Refuses To Test Detainees With Symptoms

ADELANTO (CBSLA) — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials refuse to test its Adelanto population of immigration detainees, even though it has about 1,900 COVID-19 test kits, according to allegations from the ACLU filed Monday in Los Angeles federal court.

The filing is an effort to force ICE at Adelanto to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for custodial institutions. The ACLU is asking the court to order ICE officials to test any Adelanto detainees who report symptoms of COVID-19 and halt transfers of people into the facility other than for reasons specified by CDC guidance.

The ACLU says GEO Group Inc., which operates the Adelanto center on contract, sent a message in May that about 1,900 test kits were shipped overnight to the facility. GEO had planned to "begin offering testing to all staff and all detainees" when the test kits arrived, but the plan was halted by ICE, according to the ACLU.

The ACLU alleges ICE has allowed testing of new arrivals, but not for anyone already in detainment, and that practice is reflected by the testing record – of the 305 people at Adelanto with COVID-19 symptoms between March 1 and July 15, only one has been tested.

The ACLU says a lawsuit uncovered similar tactics at a Bakersfield facility. A judge subsequently rebuked ICE officials and ordered them to test all detainees, according to the ACLU.

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