AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - The ACLU has converted a previously filed lawsuit into a class action suit representing all medically vulnerable migrant detainees being held at the Montgomery Processing Center in Conroe.
The ACLU is representing eight medically vulnerable migrant plaintiffs being detained in the facility. The suit seeks their release as well as the release of all those at heightened risk of serious illness or death if they contract COVID-19 due to age or an underlying medical condition under CDC guidelines.
“No one who is vulnerable to serious illness or death if they contract COVID-19 should be forced to remain in unsafe detention conditions,” said Kate Huddleston, attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “The release of all vulnerable individuals who are facing a mortal fate in detention is urgently necessary.”
So far three detainees and four staffers at the Montgomery Detention Center have tested positive for COVID-19. Huddleston says conditions at the facility don’t come close to the current CDC standards in preventing spread of the virus. “Once the disease has been introduced into this facility, people who are particularly vulnerable are in great danger and it's especially urgent that they be released in order to protect their health and their lives,” said Huddleston.
There are more than 800 people detained at MPC, as of April 28, 2020. The plaintiffs argue that their detention at MPC, where they cannot follow public-health guidelines and where confirmed cases are growing, puts them in imminent danger of contracting COVID-19, violates their Fifth Amendment right to due process. They are asking the court to free all people at MPC who are over the age of 50 and/or have an underlying health condition under CDC guidelines that place them at heightened risk of serious illness or death.