Migrants In ICE Detention Center Describe Unsanitary Conditions In Coronavirus-Infected Facility, 'Begging' For Protection

Migrants at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility said they faced unsanitary conditions at a detention center where multiple confirmed cases were found, and are "begging" authorities for protection.

The migrants state in a May 18 complaint letter, provided to NBC News by the Florence Immigrants and Refugees Rights Project, that the La Palma Correctional Center ICE is using has not enforced the proper protocols in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic. ,

"No measures for social distancing to be possible have been implemented or any others that keep us safe and prevent the spread, for example, they make us stand in line in order to receive our meals and other hygienic products in a way that there is no social distancing," the letter states.

The La Palma facility is made up of eight buildings that hold 24 "tanks," each of which contains up to 120 detainees. The complaint letter was submitted by Mohave Bravo tank, the only tank thus far that has not had a confirmed coronavirus case.

The letter also says the migrants were each given two disposable masks in April and two cloth masks in May, but that is the extent of personal protection equipment issued.

"They continued using the detainees as workers in the kitchen knowing it was the place where the Coronavirus started spreading and it got to the point of verbal threats, indefinite lock ins, until May 15 when the kitchen was suspended," the letter states.

According to the detainee statistics posted on ICE's website, there are currently 14 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus at the La Palma facility as of Tuesday, and 78 total cases at the facility thus far since February.

The complaint also detailed that migrants were made to clean floors that were covered with excrement from a detainee with psychiatric problems and that the individual threw feces out of his cell door during an interaction with a detention officer.

"We are begging you for help because this is a life or death situation," the letter states.

A spokesperson for ICE told Newsweek in a statement "as a matter of policy, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not comment on pending litigation."

As of June 6, the ICE website states that they have 24,713 detainees in custody, 788 of which are either under isolation or being monitored for COVID-19. There have been 5,096 detainees tested thus far.

Newsweek reached out to the Florence Immigrants and Refugees Rights Project for further comment, but they did not respond back in time for publication.

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), agent. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) John Moore/Getty