Things That Matter

Almost 900 Migrants Exposed To Mumps While In Custody Yet Trump Refuses To Provide Vaccines

Recently it was reported that despite an upcoming flu season, the Trump administration was refusing to administer the flu vaccine to migrants in US detention centers. And that news came despite three children having died in US custody with complications related to the flu.

So when the CDC released a report that confirmed migrants are falling victim to communicable diseases while in US custody, many were hoping the administration would move to put an end to the outbreak. But it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen. The administration is doubling down on its inhumane treatment of migrants. And even though the CDC has explicitly stated that the migrants are contracting the diseases while in custody, many government officials are trying to spin the story by saying that the migrants are bringing diseases and infections with them.

The CDC has confirmed that nearly 900 migrants were confirmed to have mumps.

Almost 900 migrants were exposed to mumps while in immigration custody in the first such reported outbreak of the contagious viral disease in U.S.-run detention centers, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals.

Almost half of all the mumps cases, almost 400, were reported in facilities in Texas. According to the CDC, the outbreak began in October and it involved five cases in which migrants had been transferred between two facilities within the state.

In response to the report, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said medical professionals at detention facilities screen all new detainees within 24 hours of their arrival to ensure that highly contagious diseases are not spread.

The exposure has happened in at least 57 different facilities across the US.

The CDC said Friday that a total of 898 confirmed and probable mumps cases were reported among adult migrants detained in 57 of all 315 facilities housing Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees across 19 states between Sept. 1, 2018 and Aug. 22, 2019.

Only four of the facilities exposed to mumps are run by ICE. Another 34 facilities are run by private companies who contract with ICE, while 19 are county jails that house detained migrants.

And no, migrants aren’t bringing the infection with them – 84% of migrants were exposed while in US detention centers.

The CDC concluded that 84 percent of all the patients infected, 758 migrants, were exposed to mumps while in ICE custody, whether it was at a facility run by the agency or a company contracted by the agency.

Only 43 people, or 5 percent, were exposed to the virus before apprehension. The custody status of 97 migrants, or 11 percent, was unknown at the time of their exposure.

Thirty-three additional cases occurred among staff members in these facilities.

The high number of mumps cases “prompted a coordinated national outbreak response” from the CDC and ICE.

“As of August 22, 2019, mumps outbreaks are ongoing in 15 facilities in seven states, and new introductions into detention facilities through detainees who are transferred or exposed before being taken into custody continue to occur,” the CDC said in a statement.

Approximately 150 mumps outbreaks and 16,000 cases have been reported in the United States since 2015. Most of these cases have occurred in universities, schools and at athletic events, but this is the first report of mumps outbreaks in detention facilities, according to the CDC.

So what exactly is mumps?

Mumps is a highly-contagious viral disease that was once very common across the world. Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, headache, and a general feeling of being unwell. It can lead to severe complications including death.

In the U.S., vaccines have drastically reduced the number of mumps cases. Only a few hundred cases are reported most years, with periodic outbreaks involving colleges or other places where people are in close contact.

In the migrant center outbreaks, at least 13 people were hospitalized, the CDC reported.

Texas is on high alert because most of the cases have occurred at detention centers located in the state.

A large portion of the cases have been in Texas. The Texas Department of State Health Services raised the alarm in December, followed by six other state health departments in early January, prompting what the CDC report calls “a coordinated national outbreak response.”

Nashville immigration attorney R. Andrew Free has been tracking facilities with mumps outbreaks from reports of advocates and lawyers representing detainees.

“This has all the makings of a public health crisis,” Free said. “ICE has demonstrated itself incapable of ensuring the health and safety of people inside these facilities.”

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Court Says That ICE Needs To Follow The Constitution When Making Arrests And Here’s Why That’s Such A Big Deal

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Court Says That ICE Needs To Follow The Constitution When Making Arrests And Here’s Why That’s Such A Big Deal

Gerald Herbert / Getty Images

In what many are calling a landmark decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals just handed a major victory to migrant’s rights advocates. Although the major ruling seems simple on paper, it has major legal implications and could truly change the way that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrest undocumented immigrants.

However, the decision is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court – where it would face an uncertain legal future given the possible future makeup of the nation’s highest court.

The 9th Circuit Court just issued a landmark legal decision that could greatly affect ICE arrests.

Credit: Eric Risberg / Getty Images

Long-standing rules for arresting migrants may soon need to change, thanks to a recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court says that ICE needs to align its arresting and detention procedures with those of all other law enforcement agencies in the country, which are guided by rules within the U.S. constitution. When police arrest people for suspected crimes, the constitution requires them to show probable cause to a judge within 48 hours. But ICE does not do that. When ICE arrests people, it typically holds them for weeks before any judge evaluates whether ICE had a valid legal basis to make the arrest.

But ICE’s policies may no longer be legal.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the usual constitutional rules that apply to normal police all over the country also apply to ICE. “The Fourth Amendment requires a prompt probable cause determination by a neutral and detached magistrate,” the court said. This really shouldn’t be a big deal. Prompt independent review by a judge of whether the government has a legal basis to take away a person’s freedom is an essential safeguard against tyranny.

ICE’s arrest and detention policies have long come under scrutiny for seemingly skirting constitutional rules.

Credit: Joseph Sohm / Getty Images

For almost 200 years, immigration enforcement has existed in a sort of grey area, where the usual rules never applied. For example, when ICE arrests people, individual officers have much more legal discretion than other law enforcement authorities. Detainees may be held for weeks or months before going to a judge who will ask the person how they plead to ICE’s allegations against them.

Only then, long after the initial arrest, might ICE actually be required to show a judge any evidence to back up its case. The person would have spent all of that time detained, likely at a private detention center in a remote area.

For any other person in the U.S., this procedure goes against every legal protection in the constitution. But ICE has gotten away with treating immigrants this way for generations.

The ruling comes as other courts are making it easier for ICE to abuse migrant’s constitutional rights.

The ruling by the 9th Circuit comes less than a week after the 1st Circuit overturned a ban prohibiting ICE from arresting undocumented immigrants at courthouses in Massachusetts.

In 2018, ICE created a policy of attempting to arrest undocumented immigrants when they appeared at state courthouses for judicial proceedings. However, a district court granted an injunction against the policy after migrant advocates filed a lawsuit against ICE. They claimed that ICE was in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and lacked authority to make civil arrests at courts.

Meanwhile, ICE has resumed large-scale enforcement operations, announcing roughly 2,000 arrests over several weeks amid the Coronavirus pandemic. The 9th Circuit’s decision raises an obvious question: How many of those people were detained for more than 48 hours without a review by a judge?

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The Trump Administration Just Announced That They’re Banning TikTok Downloads Starting on Sunday

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The Trump Administration Just Announced That They’re Banning TikTok Downloads Starting on Sunday

On Friday, the Trump administration announced that it would be blocking future downloads of social media app TikTok starting on midnight on Sunday.

“At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

The Trump Administraiton is also taking action against the popular messaging and payment app WeChat, banning American companies from hosting the app’s internet traffic or processing transactions for the app (one of its key features).

Both TikTok and WeChat are the two most popular tech exports from China.

via Getty Images

TikTok is a popular video-sharing platform that allows users to share 15-second videos of themselves dancing and lip-syncing to popular music (among other things). The app recently exploded in popularity, racking up 99.8 million downloads in the first six months of 2020.

TikTok and WeChat have both been recent targets of the Trump administration due to their data-collection practices.

TikTok, specifically, has recently come under fire for violating Google privacy policies. TikTok collects and documents massive amounts of data from their users, like videos watched and commented on, location data, device type, and copy-and-paste “clipboard” contents. The app even records people’s keystroke rhythms as they type.

The Trump Administration has long been suspicious of TikTok’s data-collection, speculating that TikTok might be sending the data to the Chinese government.

The Trump administration has argued that such massive amounts of data in the hands of a foreign government is a threat to national security. TikTok denies that they are handing over the data to the Chinese government.

TikTok, for their part, are not hiding their displeasure about the ban, releasing a public statement saying: “We will continue to challenge the unjust executive order, which was enacted without due process and threatens to deprive the American people and small businesses across the US of a significant platform for both a voice and livelihoods.”

This isn’t the first time TikTok has gone toe-to-toe with the Trump administration. The social media company sued the administration in August after Trump signed an executive order enacting broad sanctions against the app. TikTok claimed that the order denied the company of due process.

The TikTok ban is making waves because it marks the first time the U.S. has banned a tech app on the basis of national security concerns.

But some critics are saying that there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason behind the ban. “It just feels to me to be improvisational,” said cyber-security expert Adam Segal.

Both TikTok users and concerned Americans have taken to the internet to express their anger at the Trump administration’s decision.

“Don’t be mistaken folks,” said one Twitter user. “Sunday it will be TikTok. Tomorrow it will be twitter, FB, Instagram…you name it…We must protect free speech!”

Another pointed out the hypocrisy of Trump targeting China when he doesn’t seem to be as concerned about Russia meddling in our internet affairs. “I live in a world where TikTok is a threat to national security but Russian interference in our elections is not,” she said. “This is Trump’s America.”

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