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A prisoner shines a torch from the main ICE detention center in downtown Los Angeles. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Three in 10 immigrants in U.S. detention centers are saying no to the COVID-19 vaccine, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Vaccine hesitancy among detained immigrants has added an unlikely twist to the challenges of a pandemic-era increase in border migration.

By the numbers: ICE did not provide the exact numbers of immigrants who were offered the shot but declined. But the 30% figure has been shared internally, according to sources familiar.

  • There have been nearly 20,000 COVID-19 cases and nine deaths among ICE detainees , according to agency data. There are currently more than 900 confirmed cases.

Between the lines: Public health officials are concerned about groups of Americans — including young people and Republicans — eschewing available shots.

  • One ICE official said immigrants have refused the shot for many of the same reasons as Americans who do so, including fear of the unknown.

The big picture: Some Democrats and advocates have been urging the Biden administration to do more to ensure that migrants who cross the border, or other immigrants in government custody, are protected from the virus.

  • ICE recently began distributing an initial allotment of 10,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. More than 9,500 doses have been distributed so far, according to internal data provided to Axios.
  • The agency has also been working with state agencies to provide vaccines to immigrants.

What they're saying: "The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues its vaccination efforts to include voluntary vaccinations for individuals in the care and custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)," an ICE spokesperson told Axios.

Go deeper

DHS to increase deportation flights to Haiti from Del Rio

Migrants walk across the Rio Grande River carrying supplies back to a makeshift encampment under the international bridge between Del Rio, Texas, and Acuña, Mexico. Officials are struggling to provide food, water, shelter and sanitation, forcing migrants to cross the Rio Grande several times per day for basic necessities. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Saturday announced plans to ramp up deportation flights to Haiti out of the small Texas border town Del Rio, starting as soon as Sunday.

Why it matters: Reports have emerged of more than 10,000 migrants, primarily from Haiti, crowded in a temporary camp under the international bridge in Del Rio. Hoping to find refuge in the United States, they've had to bear with filthy conditions and the scorching sun for days, per an NBC News affiliate.

Dems' immigration plan hits major roadblock

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Sunday that Democrats cannot include pathways to citizenship in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, per a copy of the ruling obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: It's a blow to Democrats who hoped to provide pathways for millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Using reconciliations would have allowed them to pass politically contentious immigration changes with only 50 votes, as opposed to the usual 60 required.

Pelosi's back-to-school math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may need votes from an unlikely source — the Republican Party — if she hopes to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill by next Monday, as she's promised Democratic centrists.

Why it matters: With at least 20 progressives threatening to vote against the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill, centrist members are banking on more than 10 Republicans to approve the bill.