30 percent of illegal immigrants in border facilities refused COVID vaccine: report

30 percent of illegal immigrants in border facilities refused COVID vaccine: report

July 15, 2021

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​Roughly 30 percent of illegal immigrants housed in federal detention centers at the border have refused the coronavirus vaccine, according to a report Thursday. 

There have been nine COVID deaths and 20,000 coronavirus cases among those detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Axios reported, citing numbers from the agency.

ICE did not provide the exact number of illegal immigrants turning down a shot, but the 30 percent figure has been shared internally, the report said.

Illegal immigrants have been refusing the vaccine for the same reasons that many Americans have — because they’re skeptical that it is safe, the report said.

ICE distributed more than 9,500 doses of an initial allotment of 10,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and has been working with states to provide vaccinations to migrants.  

“The Department of Homeland Security continues its vaccination efforts to include voluntary vaccinations for individuals in the care and custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” an ICE spokesperson told Axios.

The revelation comes as reports have shown that coronavirus cases are surging in the detention centers — as the number of illegal immigrants being held in those facilities continues to rise amid the Biden administration struggling to respond to the record-smashing level of illegal border crossings. 

More than 7,500 new COVID cases were reported between April and the last week of June, the New York Times reported.

Public health officials blamed the high number of cases on the vaccine hesitancy shown by the illegal immigrants.  

Three medical experts wrote to the Biden administration to urge it to do more to vaccinate illegal immigrants, CNN reported last month.

The trio of doctors wrote the letter this spring, pointing out while the administration has made “great strides” combating the pandemic across the country by using the vaccine, detention centers “continue to be a significant source of spread.”

“Yet DHS has still not implemented a comprehensive plan to address the spread of COVID in immigration detention facilities,” the letter said.

In May, the American Civil Liberties Union wrote to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and acting ICE Director Tae Johnson demanding that illegal immigrants in detention centers have immediate access to the vaccine. 

“ICE’s failure to ensure a coordinated strategy for vaccination continues to endanger people in detention nationwide. ICE’s COVID-19 plan has left it to individual detention facilities to ‘contact their state’s COVID-19 vaccine resource … to obtain vaccine.’ This vaccination approach, however, has led to widespread failure,” the ACLU letter said. 

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