Originally Published in The Washington Post
Associated Press - October 13, 2020
Brinkema issued a preliminary injunction in August barring transfers into the Farmville Detention Center. She issued the injunction after blaming the coronavirus outbreak there on a “bureaucratic circus” that allowed the transfer of a large group of detainees from Florida and Arizona without any quarantine, despite jail policies against such transfers.
In court papers, lawyers for the detainees cited a Washington Post report that said the transfers were made to facilitate the simultaneous transfer of Homeland Security tactical teams to quell summer protests in the nation’s capital.
Ultimately 90% of the nearly 300 inmates at the center tested positive for the virus, and a 72-year-old detainee from Canada died.
Federal authorities say the outbreak has subsided.
Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg with the Legal Aid Justice Center, one of the detainees’ attorneys, said Brinkema was correct to ban transfers into Farmville, and that the “ping-ponging of detainees” from various immigration jails has been a primary driver of outbreaks not just at Farmville but elsewhere.