Mar 26, 2020 - Health

3 immigrant kids in U.S. custody have coronavirus

A woman holds a sign in the shape of a heart in front of a child migrant detention center
Woman waves a paper heart to kids in the U.S.'s largest migrant children detention center Photo: Gianrigo Marletta/AFP via Getty Images

Three immigrant minors in government custody who had crossed into the U.S. without their parents are confirmed to have the novel coronavirus, according to a statement by Health and Human Service's (HHS) Office of Refuge Resettlement (ORR).

Between the lines: Of the roughly 3,500 children in ORR’s care, these are the first with confirmed cases of coronavirus. HHS had earlier stopped sending immigrant minors to shelters in California and Washington state, and now has stopped placing migrant children in New York as well.

By the numbers: 18 immigrant children have been tested for COVID-19. Four await results and 11 have tested negative, according to the agency.

  • Five staff members and one staff contractor at three different New York child migrant facilities recently tested positive as well, along with one staff member in Texas, and one foster parent in Washington state.
  • "ORR is suspending releases from New York care provider facilities. ORR’s medical team is working with the programs in New York and local health department to collect information and determine next steps," the agency said in a statement.

Some immigration advocates have called for HHS to quickly release immigrant minors to sponsors or find ways to ensure they are able to practice social distancing, as CBS News reported.

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