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ICE Announces Updated Phased Return to Social Visitation at Detention Facilities

Those seeking social visitation will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and temperature checked; sick or symptomatic individuals will not be admitted.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) has initiated an updated phased return to social visitation in its detention facilities consistent with federal, state, and local guidelines. This implementation is a collaborative effort between individual facilities and local field offices nationwide. The COVID phased visitation process remains fluid, considering local conditions and updates to CDC guidance, to include the CDC Community Level as determined by the CDC COVID-19 Integrated County View available online, as well as staffing, and other limitations of each facility.

“I am extremely proud of the ongoing, incredible efforts of our ICE workforce who continue to overcome challenges presented by the pandemic to perform critical national security and public safety missions,” said ICE Executive Associate Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations Corey A. Price. “After careful assessment of national trends associated with COVID-19 cases, I am pleased to announce this phased return to social visitation. Teams will continue to closely monitor conditions and alter phases based on new information as needed – this is how we will continue to deliver high-quality, evidence-based care to detained individuals in a dignified, respectful manner.”

Those seeking social visitation will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and temperature checked; sick or symptomatic individuals will not be admitted into facilities for the purpose of social visitation. Additionally, detainees and visitors will be required to exercise proper hand hygiene pre- and post-visit and wear appropriate face coverings and other applicable personal protective equipment (as described by the CDC) at all times within facilities.

The agency suspended non-essential visitation at the onset of the pandemic in a concentrated effort to minimize infection and transmission rates – ICE will continue to apply CDC guidance through its Pandemic Response Requirements (PRR), regularly communicating with senior medical leadership across the federal government on overarching detention health standards. Recognizing the impact of limiting in-person visitation over the last two years, the agency increased how it facilitated personal communications for detained individuals through extended access to teleconferencing, video visitation (e.g., Skype, FaceTime), email, and/or tablets with extended hours wherever possible.

This updated facility phase guidance is specific to “social visitation” and does not apply to legal visitation which falls under separate guidance.

All common areas in facilities continue to be cleaned daily; tables, chairs, and other high-traffic areas will be disinfected between visitation groups. Those interested in social visitation information at can visit ICE.gov to contact local field offices.

Read more at ICE

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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