COVID-19 cases among detainees at the Port Isabel Detention Center in Los Fresnos continue to rise. On Wednesday, ICE updated its published numbers indicating that a fourth detainee inside the facility had tested positive.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement is no longer providing the names and nationalities of detainees as the numbers coming from the agency’s operations division in an attempt to keep up with a fluctuating number of cases and statuses of those infected (isolate, active, recovered).
At PIDC, the number has steadily risen since last week. ICE referred questions regarding a population of detainees allegedly under quarantine at the facility to its published COVID-19 guidance, which explains how detainees who have come into contact with suspected or confirmed cases are isolated.
The agency did not address the specific number of detainees quarantined inside the facility. Valley-based advocates in touch with detainees have reported various estimates given by detainees inside allegedly quarantined dormitories. The latest, at 216 individuals, came on Wednesday.
On Monday, Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network announced that two Cuban men detained at PIDC had gone on a hunger strike in protest of their detention and ICE’s refusal to release detainees despite confirmed COVID cases in the detention center. ICE is required to monitor detainees who initiate hunger strikes. Both men were moved into administrative segregation, which advocates refer to as solitary confinement.
On Tuesday, organizers reported that one man had stopped his hunger strike.
ICE’s total detained population was 25,421 as of May 30. The agency is reporting 818 positive cases among detainees currently under isolation or monitoring as of Wednesday, as well as a total of only 3,113 detainees tested system-wide.