Leaked CBP Document Show ICE and CBP Granted Extraordinary Powers During Pandemic Including Indefinite Surveillance and Detention

Washington, DC-A leaked Customs and Border Protection directive allows the agency to actively surveil and detain individuals suspected of carrying illness—indefinitely. The document, obtained by The Nation, is titled “Operations Plan for Pandemic Response” and was drafted during the avian flu pandemic of 2007. The plan describes CBP and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) overseeing potential tent cities of quarantined detainees at the border and coordinating with unspecified intelligence agencies—both foreign and domestic—as well as the Pentagon. In response to the report on the leaked document, Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following response:

“We are at a tipping point of veering into a civil rights atrocity akin to the internment of Japanese Americans in WWII. The powers granted to CBP and ICE would only embolden an out-of-control White House determined to exploit a public health crisis in furtherance of its anti-immigrant agenda. Let’s be clear: we need real and sustainable public health solutions to COVID-19, not indefinite detention of our immigrant community members. Now, more than ever, New Yorkers must stand united against fear and xenophobia and our electeds must stand ready to protect and defend each and every New Yorker by ensuring we all have access to the health and legal services we need to keep our families safe and secure.”