Immigration advocates call on Barr to halt migrant prosecutions amid coronavirus outbreak

Immigration advocates are calling on Attorney General William Barr to halt immigration prosecutions and stop bringing charges of unauthorized entry against immigrants at the border. 

The push is in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, advocacy groups led by Mijente wrote in a letter to Barr Tuesday. 

“An outbreak of the coronavirus in these courts and custodial facilities would not only move fast, it would be catastrophic,” the groups wrote, adding that vulnerable groups such as the elderly and people with medical conditions are “well represented” among incarcerated people. 

Failing to make changes places the surrounding communities at risk, the advocates wrote. People who cycle in and out of the detention facilities, including staff and people who are arrested and released within a short time, are at risk of spreading the virus beyond the facilities if there is an outbreak.  

The advocates are asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to end arrests and criminal referrals for unauthorized entry and reentry, drop all unauthorized entry and reentry charges and decline all new criminal prosecution for such charges. 

The groups also ask the DOJ to agree to resentence people held in prisons. 

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