May 26, 2020

ICYMI: Second Man Dies After Contracting COVID-19 in ICE Detention

Press Release

This weekend it was reported that Santiago Baten-Oxlag died after contracting COVID-19 at Stewart Detention Center, a privately operated prison where he was held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Families Belong Together co-director Paola Luisi released the following statement in response:

“This death was preventable. There has been an overwhelming outcry from medical experts warning about the deadly conditions within ICE facilities, especially during a public health crisis. It is impossible to safely physically distance behind bars.

It is time for the immigration officials to stop ignoring the pleas of doctors and immediately release people from detention, before they cause the deaths of more mothers, fathers, and children.”


The Families Belong Together coalition includes nearly 250 different groups comprising tens of thousands of Americans from all backgrounds who have joined together to fight the Trump Administration’s cruel family separation and anti-immigrant agenda. Led by the National Domestic Workers Alliance, MoveOn, the ACLU, and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Families Belong Together coalition organized the National Day of Action that saw hundreds of thousands of people protest the family separation policy and other inhumane immigration policies at more than 780 events in all 50 states. The coalition is at the forefront of the fight to permanently end family separation and incarceration, immediately reunite all families who remain torn apart, reverse the Trump administration’s zero-humanity policy that created this crisis, and hold accountable anyone who has profited politically or financially from the suffering of these families.

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