March 24, 2020

Immigration lawyers: New personal protective equipment rules endangering detainees

Lawyers and advocacy groups say the U.S. government is defying public health rules intended to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Lawyers and advocacy groups say the U.S. government is defying public health rules in place to stop the spread of the pandemic. They say new rules compel lawyers to wear personal protective equipment but then, the government doesn’t provide them the gear.

On Monday morning, they say an attorney trying to enter the Eloy Detention Center to meet with an elderly client was prevented from going in until they had the right equipment and an interpreter unable to find the gear was not allowed in.

Ruben Reyes is with the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He’s been having trouble finding masks.

“Someone said why don’t you call the paint stores. And I called a few but they were out and kind of going down the line, I found one. And I literally just came back from the store having bought literally their last ones. It’s crazy," he said.

The group and several others are calling for immigration court hearings to be held remotely. Two judges now allow some hearings to be conducted by phone.

Fronteras Desk
Fronteras Desk is a KJZZ project covering important stories in an expanse stretching from Northern Arizona deep into northwestern Mexico.
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