Below is the guidance we have received for visitation of detainees.
Effective March 13, 2020, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will temporarily suspend social visitation at all its detention facilities until further notice in order to mitigate the for potential transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Unless and until it is determined to pose a risk to the safety and security of the facility, legal visitation should be permitted to continue.
- Non-contact legal visitation should be offered first to limit exposure to detainees.
o If the legal visitation requires contact, ICE will permit the visit but reinforce the recommendation for non-contact visitation.
- Should in-person legal visitation be suspended, ICE will ensure detainee communication with legal representatives continues unimpeded via Skype or teleconference as available. ICE will also take steps to facilitate such communication, in the absence of visitation, through extended access to telephones and other reasonable means.
Notwithstanding the above, Members of Congress, Congressional Member Delegations (CODELs), and Congressional Staff Delegations (STAFFDELs) will not be prevented from accessing facilities for the purpose of conducting oversight. However, in order to safeguard visitors, detainees, and ICE and facility staff, visitors may be subject to special screening procedures. For example, if the public is limited access to the facility due to potential COVID-19 exposure by a detainee or detainees, raising concern about the potential spread of the virus to visitors, notification should be made to the CODEL or STAFFDEL to inform its decision whether to conduct a visit.
In appropriate circumstances, ICE may impose additional requirements, such as requiring the visitors to wear protective equipment. If there is an articulable concern that a visitor or visitors may transmit COVID-19 to detainees, ICE may ask them to leave or require them to wear equipment which will prevent the spread of the virus and/or require them to go through similar testing as employees of the detention facility. All visitors should be advised of standard hygiene practices to help prevent the spread of disease, i.e., washing hands and avoiding close contact, and should be made aware of available washrooms within the facility.
Although ICE has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within its detained population, ICE has decided to revise its visitation practices during this time.