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Lawyers allege significant virus outbreak at El Paso immigrant detention facility

EL PASO, Texas -- Lawyers representing women released from the El Paso Immigration and Customs Enforcement processing facility, as well as a lawyer representing women still inside the facility, offered up a look Thursday at what they say conditions are like.

Antonio Williams is the lawyer representing the very first woman who tested positive for the virus, and likely infected several more women.

Williams does not mince words: He says ICE has a coronavirus outbreak inside the facility that could spread even further to other women.

“If you have more than one person who tests positive, that is an outbreak. Especially when we know how contagious the disease is,” said Williams.

Williams believes one of his clients is the very first woman to test positive inside the ICE facility, and spread the virus to other women, likely at least one of the six released to Annunciation house Wednesday.

"She is the very first woman who tested positive. Her family member told me that ICE is trying to deport her. She didn’t pass her credible fear interview. And they were telling her that she has no chance in her case, and that she should just sign her deportation forms,” Williams said.

According to a copy of the lawsuit filed by the women, ICE officials failed to separate that infected woman from the rest of the population inside an ICE barrack, which could’ve led to the spread of Covid-19.

While the six women were released, all five of Williams clients remain detained. He said one of his clients is already showing symptoms associated with the virus.

“She said that she was very sick, that she had a fever, she had headaches, that she was still not being given anything to deal with that, other than a pill, which she wasn’t told what it was.” said Williams.

Williams is trying to get his clients released on parole and moved to a place like Annunciation House, where proper isolation and care is being used.

ABC 7 reached out to ICE spokesperson Leticia Zamaripa to ask if the El Paso ICE facility is dealing with an outbreak, but have not heard back.

Article Topic Follows: On the Border

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Saul Saenz


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