Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) currently has approximately 600 detainees in Michigan that have been identified as “vulnerable” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These detainees are spread out between three jails in Calhoun, Monroe, and St. Clair Counties. Approximately 160 of those deemed vulnerable have been released already. The ACLU is looking to have the remaining 440 or so vulnerable detainees released amid this pandemic. To accomplish this, the ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit calling for the immediate release of these detainees because of the nearly impossible conditions and serious public health risk that these jails have. Social distancing is not an option for most all detainees when they are locked and housed in tight quarters with each other.
Who Is The ACLU?
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded 100 years ago in 1920. Initially a group of civil liberties activists, it is now an organization that has over a half a million active members and supporters. The ACLU has 54 state affiliate offices nationwide, along with an office in Washington, DC. The ACLU in Michigan was formed in 1959, some four years after activists for social justice joined and pushed the ball forward towards officially organizing into a state office. Currently, the ACLU tackles social justice issues with its legal team unafraid to go to court when necessary. The current target of the ACLU is ICE and their detainment of so many undocumented people during this dangerous pandemic.