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Group marches in Richmond with hopes to abolish ICE

Posted at 11:02 PM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-02 15:09:07-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Dozens gathered in a Carytown parking lot Friday afternoon demanding change at a Virginia immigrant detention center plagued with COVID-19 cases.

Brenda Pereira was one of the organizers.

“So we are here as a grassroots movement, where people that are being directly impacted by the detention center and ICA in Farmville," Pereira said.

This protest was against the actions of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency and comes just days after a Farmville Detention Center for immigrants announced that 290 of the 312 people detained there tested positive for Covid-19.

Lawyers believe the rise in cases happened after 74 detainees were transferred in from Arizona and Florida.

“It’s complete ignorance and negligence of the health of people being detained at the detention center," Pereira said.

The protest turned into a march to the Windsor Farms neighborhood.

That's where protesters believed the owner of Immigration Centers of America-Farmville, (ICA), the company which runs the detention center, lived.

The outbreak in Farmville has also drawn criticism from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. All three have written to President Donald Trump calling for action at the facility.

“We want the immediate release of all people being detained by ICE, the abolish detention centers," Pereira said.

Protestors said they also wanted to defund the Department of Homeland Security and get rid of ICE.

“ICE has terrorized our community long enough and to see that during a global pandemic, there is 93 percent positive COVID cases in Farmville ICA Detention Center is a complete show of negligence to human life and proper health care," Pereira added.

CBS 6 reached out to the company that runs the detention center and they referred us to ICE media department. CBS 6 asked them for comment about Friday's protest and conditions at the Farmville facility. They sent back the following statement:

"The health, welfare, and safety of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees is one of the agency’s highest priorities. During COVID-19, ICE has taken important steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in its detention centers the agency, including the use of expanded voluntary COVID-19 testing for detainees in the agency’s custody.

Since the emergence of COVID-19, ICA Farmville Detention Center in Farmville, Virginia, has ramped up its efforts to protect and care for detainees in its custody by providing face masks, procuring additional handwashing stations and most recently, administering comprehensive testing of all detainees.

ICA Farmville offered testing to all detainees from July 1 to 3 to ascertain the scope of COVID-19 cases at the facility. The majority of those who tested positive are asymptomatic, but are being closely monitored and receiving appropriate medical care. Currently, one detainee is hospitalized and three detainees exhibiting symptoms are being monitored by the medical staff at ICA Farmville.

Medical checks are done twice daily, including a temperature screening and medication disbursement. Every detainee who needs medical attention is being seen. Farmville staff have worked diligently to keep detainees informed of the developing situation as it evolves through education and updates from medical staff on coronavirus symptoms and how their care and custody will be managed."

COVID-19 Precautions

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for complete coverage of this important developing story.

COVID-19 Precautions

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.