There are more than 22,000 immigrants in ICE custody.
In a statement, ICE said it's "firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody" and that the Department of Homeland Security's chief medical officer "is rapidly working on scaling our own internal capability to vaccinate detainees in our care across the country."
ICE previously described vaccination procedures in a document titled "Covid-19 Pandemic Response Requirements,"
putting the onus on detention facilities to contact their state's vaccine resource, such as the state or country department of health, to obtain vaccines. House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson also called for an investigation
Thursday into alleged violations of ICE's pandemic response requirements at the Adams County Detention Center in Mississippi, including detainees being grouped together in tight quarters and not having enough disinfecting supplies.
Only a limited number have been vaccinated, in part because of the differing priority guidance across states, Johnson told lawmakers earlier this month.
"Because of that sort of variance, we have been looking at working with CDC and HHS to just see if we can get our own batch of vaccines, deploy them across the country to the ICE detainee population," Johnson said.
As of May 5, 2,707 detainees have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and 1,229 detainees are fully vaccinated, according to Johnson
Mayorkas said Wednesday that plans to offer Covid-19 vaccines to detainees are "under review." "That is something that we are looking at very carefully," Mayorkas told
Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood when asked about plans to vaccinate the detained population during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing.
But senior staff attorney at the ACLU National Prison Project, Eunice Hyunhye Cho, called the delay "unacceptable."
"It is a literal matter of life or death," Cho told CNN. "This was a completely foreseeable issue and ICE has failed to protect people who are in their custody."
The ACLU outlined a list of expectations in their Thursday letter, including providing Covid-19 vaccines to detention facilities for detainees and staff, ensuring that linguistically and culturally appropriate educational materials are provided to people about the vaccine and making sure detainees are provided a vaccine shortly after requesting one.
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