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Coronavirus updates in Texas: Advocates call for Trump administration to release detained migrants

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Staff nurse Lt. Gretta Walter awaits the arrival of coronavirus test patients in the emergency room at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Fort Belvoir, Virginia on Wednesday. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Friday's biggest developments:

  • Advocacy groups call for release of migrants in detention

Calls increase for Trump administration to release migrants from detention

[5 a.m.] As the new coronavirus infects more than 11,000 Americans, including more than 160 Texans so far, immigrant rights groups and attorneys are calling for the government to release detained migrants before the pandemic creates an irreversible health crisis inside detention facilities.

“A number of detainees in recent days have told us how frightened they are to be locked in detention as the coronavirus spreads throughout the country,” the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services said in a statement. “We demand that ICE release all immigrant detainees immediately.”

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement website details its procedures, including isolation, in the event that a detained person gets COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. But more than 750 private entities wrote to ICE acting Director Matthew T. Albence on Thursday arguing that the agency’s track record under the Trump administration does nothing to instill confidence that detainees are being kept in safe environments. — Julián Aguilar