Media Contact

March 31, 2020

LAS VEGAS—The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada Foundation on Tuesday filed a complaint in federal court to secure the release of two men who are being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Henderson Detention Center.

Our plaintiffs in the case, Ramirez v. Culley, are medically vulnerable and at risk of severe illness or even death because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Constitution requires that detention facilities ensure the health and safety of the people in their care, but these facilities are unable to implement social distancing and other medical best practices to prevent exposure.

The people housed at the Henderson Detention Center have already been exposed to COVID-19. Jail officials confirmed on March 28 that 13 individuals held in ICE detention there have been isolated in individual cells after they were transported by an ICE agent who later began to show symptoms of COVID-19.

The only remedy to this constitutional issue is to release our plaintiffs.

ACLU of Nevada Legal Director Sherrie Royster said:

“The people being detained at the Henderson Detention Center have already been exposed to COVID-19. Our plaintiffs and others who are medically vulnerable and not a threat to the community must be released before they become severely ill. This is a constitutional issue, but this is a community issue, as well, because an outbreak in detention facilities will further spread the virus and burden our health care systems.”

Arriba Las Vegas Workers Center Director Bliss Requa-Trautz said:

"In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that ICE take swift and sweeping action to release the hundreds of detainees in Nevada who they are actively endangering. Continued detention is unjust, dangerous and unlawful. Today we stand with those in detention, with the ACLU of Nevada, and with dozens of organizations across the county to call for their immediate release. ICE is not an essential business, and the best way to protect Nevada is to cease all operations and release detainees so that they may adequately care for themselves and their families from the safety of their homes."