Detained Migrants Say They Were Forced to Clean COVID-Infected ICE Facility

The La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona, May 11, 2010.
Joshua Lott/Bloomberg via Getty Images (File)

Asylum-seeking migrants locked up inside an Arizona Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center with one of the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases say they were forced to clean the facility and are "begging" for protection from the virus, according to a letter obtained exclusively by NBC News.

"This is a life or death situation," said a translation of their message, dated May 18, and sent to the Florence Immigrants & Refugees Rights Project, a legal advocacy group that has filed a lawsuit on behalf of migrants in the facility.

The migrants appealed for help to the advocacy group from inside one of 24 "tanks," which hold 120 men each, in the La Palma Correctional Center outside of Phoenix, which is operated for ICE by the for-profit company CoreCivic.

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