The Coronavirus has proven extremely disruptive in social and economic terms – both at home and abroad. The U.S. government is urging Americans to stay at home and avoid social gatherings to contain the spread of the virus. Quite a few companies are encouraging employees to work remotely, and many who can are doing so. More than half of the nation’s school children are out and 64,000 schools have closed. The United States has blocked travel from communist China, Hong Kong, and Europe. Many countries have also either closed their borders or instituted strict border controls and travel freezes, or they are seriously considering such policies. China locked down Hubei – the province where the Coronavirus pandemic originally broke out – and Italy is under a national lockdown. The disease is still spreading.
In spite of the general trend towards lockdowns, social distancing, and reducing unnecessary travel and movement, leftists in the United States have demanded that some or all detained illegal aliens be released into the general population. For instance, the ACLU sued to have the most vulnerable to the Coronavirus released from both immigration detention and prisons. But, U.S. District Court Judge James L. Robart rejected the ACLU’s case on Thursday, arguing that “there is no evidence that anyone at [the facility]has COVID-19, and plaintiffs do not address the measures defendants are taking to prevent such a spread from occurring.”
Another left-wing pro-illegal-alien group Detention Watch actually called for releasing everyone in immigration detention, which was re-tweeted by the UndocuBlack Network, a “multigenerational network of currently and formerly undocumented Black people.” (Although the organizational support letter is no longer accepting responses, the tweet and re-tweet nevertheless remain.)
Keep in mind that, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out, COVID-19 “is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.” It is mainly transmitted “between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet)” via “respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.” Moreover, many cases are inadvertently spread by carriers who do not know they have the virus. In other words, people who may seem healthy may nevertheless inadvertently continue transmitting the Coronavirus.
Admittedly, there is no ideal, fool-proof solution to the problem. While there are risks associated with keeping illegal aliens in detention, we should not forget that there are also risks associated with releasing large numbers of people.
Moreover, foreign nationals in detention put themselves in that position by violating our laws. The people who would be put at risk if we engage in wholesale release did not break any laws. In addition, the radical pro-illegal-alien advocates have forgotten that the health risks of detention can be avoided because detained illegal aliens – unless they have committed some other offenses – are free to voluntarily return to their homelands. No one is holding them in detention by force.
And while prisons in some parts of the country (e.g. Los Angeles, New York, and Cleveland) have released some inmates, they have by no means released everyone. Since that is the case, why should we open the doors to all immigration detainees? Furthermore, there is a significant difference between illegal aliens and U.S. prison inmates who are either citizens or legal immigrants: the latter group is authorized to be in the country.
There are additional key points to bear in mind. Regardless of where one stands on this particular question, this is not the first time that open-borders extremists have called for releasing illegal aliens from detention, and certainly not the last time they will do so. They are not allowing a crisis to go to waste, and the Coronavirus is simply an excuse.
Moreover, the large numbers of people currently in detention centers are there, in large part, because the radical pro-illegal-alien and pro-open-borders left encourages and cheers on mass, recurring attempts to rush America’s borders and overwhelm the U.S. immigration system. Finally, if word gets out that the Americans are releasing droves of people from immigration detention, it may well spur additional caravans and attempted illegal crossings, thereby once again filling our detention centers.