What started as a few cases of chicken pox among immigrant detainees at the Victorville federal prison has now spread, with as many as half those held there under quarantine.
The union representing prison officers says there's not enough staff, including health care workers, to care for the detainees and attorneys have had to temporarily cancel sessions to inform the immigrants about their legal rights. Many are seeking asylum.
Attorneys won a temporary injunction back in June allowing them to visit the detainees and conduct presentations to inform them of their legal rights. They've been unable to do so since last week Tuesday.
"For the last week, we've had to suspend presentations, because there's been a quarantine in effect," said attorney Meeth Soni with Immigrant Defenders. The pro-bono law firm, along with the ACLU, sued the federal government to allow detainees access to legal counsel.
Immigration officials transferred close to 1,000 immigrant detainees to the prison in early June after they were arrested at the southern border.
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Photo: Libby Denkmann)