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LAS Demands Release of ICE Detainees Over Broken Air Conditioning System

The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP)—which includes lawyers from The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defenders, and Bronx Defenders— sent a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) demanding the release of immigrant clients in detention at Bergen County Jail after reports of the jail’s air conditioning system breaking down in the middle of a heat wave. The oppressive heat and lack of ventilation – particularly dangerous due to the threat of COVID-19 – has created deadly conditions for staff and detainees alike in the jail, according to NJ.com.

“Given that air circulation and ventilation are essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which has affected staff and detainees at Bergen County Jail and continues to spread in the surrounding community, these conditions place our clients at imminent risk,” the letter said.

“For their own health and safety, people need refuge from this oppressive heat. The jail should immediately release our clients,” said Alejandra Lopez, Communications Associate at The Legal Aid Society.