[Pnews] Immigrants being doused in toxic industrial disinfectant at Trump-funded ICE detention center over Covid

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Aug 18 11:38:47 EDT 2020


https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/ice-detention-immigrants-trump-california-toxic-chemicals-covid-a9668716.html
Immigrants
being doused in toxic industrial disinfectant at Trump-funded ICE detention
center over Covid, activists say
Louise Boyle - August 14, 2020
------------------------------

Immigrants <https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/immigrants> being held at a
Trump <https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/trump> administration-funded
detention facility in California are allegedly being doused with an
industrial disinfectant in confined spaces in an attempt to control the
spread of the coronavirus, according to activists on Thursday.

Adelanto <https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/adelanto> Immigrant Detention
Facility, outside of Los Angeles, is reportedly spraying detainees with HDQ
Neutral, a potent and potentially toxic disinfectant, which can cause
severe skin burns and serious eye damage.

The chemical is only supposed to be used outdoors or in well-ventilated
areas while wearing protective gloves, clothing and eye and face
protection, according to the manufacturer Spartan Chemical Company
<https://www.spartanchemical.com/sds/downloads/AGHS/EN/1202.pdf>.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Detainees have shared stories of the chemicals being sprayed every 20-30
minutes in close proximity and, at times, directly at them, Shut Down
Adelanto Coalition and environmental law non-profit, Earthjustice, said in
a statement.

Raul Garcia, Legislative Director of Healthy Communities at Earthjustice
told *The Independent*: “The crowded and closed conditions in Adelanto,
along with the fact that immigrants in detention do not have protective
equipment, render the use of HDQ Neutral not only highly problematic, but
also grossly illegal."

Those who have been sprayed say they have suffered health complications
such as rashes, nosebleeds, breathing difficulties, headaches and
nausea, Reuters
<https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-cages-idUSKBN24117B>reported.

The activists said that detainees have made dozens of complaints but that
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE
<https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/ice>) and GEO Group Inc, a private
prison operator contracted at the centre, have continued to deny the harm
being caused "and have consistently attempted to undermine any and all
attempts to expose their danger".

Following publication, an ICE spokesman told *The Independent*:
"Disinfectant formulations used at Adelanto are compliant with detention
standards, registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and are
used according to manufacture instructions for routine cleaning and
maintenance of the facility. Moreover, our staff follow recommendations
outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for
cleaning and disinfecting practices. Any assertion or claim to the contrary
is nothing more than a false ongoing disinformation campaign against the
agency."

A GEO group spokesperson told *The Independent*: “The allegations regarding
HDQ Neutral are untrue and without merit. HDQ Neutral is a cleaning product
that is registered with the EPA and that has been used at the Adelanto ICE
Processing Center for nearly 10 years. There are no injuries associated
with the use of this solution. GEO has always followed, and will continue
to follow, all manufacturer guidelines and EPA requirements for all
cleaning products, including HDQ Neutral.”

Border detention centres
<https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/detention-centres> have become a
ghoulish hallmark of the Trump administration, in particular after a large
number of unaccompanied minors were detained on crossing the southern
border from Central America in 2018.

At a House Homeland Security Committee hearing
<https://www.reuters.com/video/watch/dhs-secretary-grilled-over-cages-id522680112>
last year, Chairman Bennie Thompson and Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman
questioned then Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen
over whether migrant children at the border with Mexico were being kept in
"cages."

"We never purposefully put a child in a cage,” Ms Nielsen responded.

At the Adelanto facility, there have been accusations that immigrants are
being held without access to medical services, amid growing concern over
the number of deaths in ICE custody.

On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reported that Adelanto
had received about 1,900 Covid-19 test kits but that ICE officials refused
to allow the vast majority of them to be used. The non-profit filed a
lawsuit against ICE for violating CDC guidelines for custodial
institutions, noting that "the refusal to give tests to people who are
symptomatic of the virus infection is... medically and morally repugnant".

Last year, the Trump administration awarded billions of dollars in
contracts for private companies to operate immigration detention centres in
California, just ahead of a state law that was enacted to prohibit them.

California Governor Gavin Newsom had signed a bill in October 2019 to ban
contracts for for-profit prisons starting 1 January. Supporters hoped the
law would force ICE to look elsewhere after current contracts expire.

A combined $6.8 billion was awarded for California detention facilities
including Adelanto. The sites will house about 4,000 detainees, with
capacity to expand in the future.

*Wires contributed to this report*

*This report has been updated to include the ICE and GEO response*
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