Judge: ICE Facility Must Create Plan to Vaccinate Detainees

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers detain a man during an operation in Escondido, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

An immigration detention facility in western New York that’s been beset by coronavirus must come up with a plan to vaccinate detainees from the disease, a judge said Thursday.

More than 40 people held at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia were being held in isolation or under monitoring as of Friday after testing positive, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The facility has about 260 detainees.

The Buffalo News reports that U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo is requiring the facility to come up with a plan to give vaccinations to detainees who would otherwise be eligible under state guidelines, such as people over 65 or with underlying health conditions.

Prisoners Legal Services of New York, which filed a lawsuit seeking coronavirus protections for detainees, said Vilardo’s order is the first of its kind in the country.

A lawyer for the organization said it’s asking for vulnerable detainees to be able to join the vaccine line, not jump it.