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South Florida ICE detention centers ban visitors after Trump declares national emergency

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South Florida immigration detention centers are prohibiting visitors just hours after Trump declared a national emergency, two detainees told the Miami Herald Friday.

According to the detainees — one at Krome Processing Center and another at the Broward Transitional Center — all visitors will be turned away as of Friday in hopes of slowing down the curb of spreading coronavirus. Guards went into their rooms and informed hundreds of inmates that they will no longer be able to receive visitors, attorneys included.

They were not clear on when visitors will be allowed to return.

“We are all scared,” one inmate said. “We aren’t being told anything other than that it’s for our own safety.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials confirmed to the Herald that “as a precautionary measure to protect the aliens in our care and others, ICE is temporarily suspending social visitation in all of its detention facilities.”

The agency told the Herald earlier this week that as of as of March 3, four people in ICE custody had met criteria for testing.

However, as of March 10, there were no cases of people with coronavirus in ICE custody.

“We have had persons in Florida with the flu, but none of those cases have tested positive for coronavirus,” an ICE spokesman said.

It’s unclear if any additional detainees have been tested for coronavirus since then, though ICE told the Herald on Friday that there are “currently no detainees in ICE custody with confirmed COVID-19.”

“Detainees who require quarantine are placed in an appropriate setting in accordance with CDC or state and local health department guidelines. Asymptomatic individuals, or those with mild illness, may be placed in a medical airborne infection isolation room specifically designed to contain biological agents, such as COVID-19,” the agency said in a statement. “This prevents the spread of the agent to other individuals and the general public. Individuals with moderate to severe symptoms, or those for which guidelines suggest higher levels of care or surveillance, are transported to appropriate hospitals with expertise in high risk care.”

This story was originally published March 13, 2020 6:17 PM.

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