Virginia regulators will be able to go inside detention facilities in Farmville and Caroline County if Senator Jennifer Boysko of Herndon gets her way. Her bill making Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities subject to state inspectors has already passed a Senate panel.
“There is rampant COVID-19 infection at the Farmville facility. In fact, 75% of the detainees have tested positive,” she says. “No longer will we stand by while our neighbors are detained in facilities that threaten their health and I include the employees who work at those facilities who put themselves in harm’s way.”
Simon Sandoval Moshenburg of the Legal Aid Justice Center says state regulators can inspect these facilities holding federal detainees as long as the standards they’re enforcing aren’t more stringent than the standards that apply to local facilities. He also says state regulators shouldn’t have to fight in court to get access.
“The horror stories we’ve heard from clients within the facility can’t be overstated,” he says. “Without this bill, the governor, the Health Department and the Department of Corrections were left essentially knocking on the door and asking voluntary permission of the facility management can we please come in.”
I don’t doubt that Trump and his fascist crew of Stephen Miller and Chad Wolf and Bob Barr will say that this can’t happen, etc., but states need to take control of the facilities in their communities. And given the realities of the pandemic and that a huge COVID outbreak in a concentration camp–which is absolutely what these facilities are–won’t necessarily stay in that camp, it gives an opening to do so. What is happening in Virginia is what happens when you elect Democrats, though I do wish those Democrats in the state prioritized unions as much as other issues.