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Jenner Benavides, et al. v. Patrick Gartland, et al.

The SPLC and its allies filed a lawsuit seeking the immediate release of people with preexisting health conditions held at a south Georgia detention center during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 – a situation that placed these detained people at greater risk of contracting the virus that causes the disease.

The lawsuit warns of an imminent catastrophe at the privately operated detention center – the Folkston ICE Processing Center in Folkston – if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement fails to take meaningful action to safeguard the health of detained people, facility employees and the surrounding communities.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three individuals detained for civil immigration matters with a range of underlying health conditions that make them especially susceptible to COVID-19, which is highly contagious and known to thrive in jails and detention centers where people are held in close quarters. The poor sanitation and inadequate medical care at the facility only exacerbate conditions favorable for transmission of the disease.