May 27, 2020 at 12:30pm
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
(Houston) Dona Kim Murphey, MD PhD, [email protected], (713) 459-0450
(San Antonio): Elena Jiménez Gutierrez, MD, [email protected]; (919) 923-1695
Karla Graue Pratt
Interim Executive Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 26, 2020
DOCTORS FOR AMERICA CONDEMNS THE SEPARATION OF IMMIGRANT FAMILIES AND DEMANDS THE RELEASE OF THOSE IN ICE DETENTION
HOUSTON (May 26, 2020) – Doctors for America (DFA), an organization that works with doctors, doctors in-training, and health advocates in all 50 states to put patients over politics and to improve health across the country, demands the release of detained asylum seekers, refugees, and nonviolent immigrants to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in ICE detention facilities. We are driven by pragmatic idealism and bring the voice of physicians to the issue of immigrant and refugee health justice.
Doctors bring a distinctly neutral argument to the release of incarcerated persons from detention. These private, for-profit facilities have an indisputable history of keeping those they detain in crowded, unhygienic circumstances, and denying medical care. All of these conditions are ripe for rapid dissemination and devastation by COVID-19. Furthermore, physicians are aware of the toxic stress and profound and enduring consequences caused by family separations, which last week were resumed as ‘binary choice’ options provided to immigrant families in Family Residential Centers and continue as thousands of parents remain separated from their children in adult detention facilities. Depopulating immigration detention will also reduce community infections and mitigate the healthcare impact of a second wave. Texas holds over 30% of those in ICE custody.
“In this moment, when physicians are frontline workers and hailed as heroes, we demand that ICE release immigrants for the welfare of all our communities,” said Dona Kim Murphey, MD PhD, a Board Member of Doctors For America. “There is no public safety justification for continuing to incarcerate the vast majority of these people during a deadly pandemic.”
In Houston, Texas on May 29, 9 am – May 30, 9 am, physicians and immigrants rights allies will hold a 24 hour vigil at the Joe Corley Detention Facility, 500 Hilbig Rd, Conroe, TX 77301. They will read and deliver letters to an epidemiologist, physician, and nurse currently being held there at a press conference on May 29, 10am. Universal masking and strict social distancing will be observed.
In San Antonio, Texas, on May 29, 9 am – May 30, 9 am, physicians and immigrants rights allies will hold a 24 hour vigil at the Karnes County Residential Center, 409 FM1144, Karnes City, TX 78118. Universal masking and strict social distancing will be observed.
About Doctors For America
Doctors for America (DFA) is an independent non-profit organization of over 20,000 physicians and medical students across the country who are trained to mobilize so that patients are put before politics and profits and that the health of our patients, communities, and nation is improved.
For more information, please visit www.doctorsforamerica.org.