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[News Mention] As Coronavirus Threatens, Teenage Migrants ‘Age Out’ Into ICE Jails


Detainees at an ICE processing center in Adelanto, Calif., last year. Credit...Chris Carlson/Associated Press


WASHINGTON — Isaac, a 17-year-old Guatemalan, crossed the U.S. border nearly eight months ago and was detained as a minor by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement, long before the novel coronavirus existed.


As his 18th birthday approached last month, it appeared he would be released to a Texas shelter where the director promised that the teenager would be “provided counseling and referred for any medical assistance he may require” for high blood pressure, severe anxiety and, if necessary, Covid-19, should the virus reach the shelter.


Instead, on the day he became an adult in the eyes of the U.S. government, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement swooped in and shipped him to the Otero County Processing Center in El Paso, where he says he sleeps arm’s distance away from dozens of other immigrants.


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