AUTHORITIES TRANSFERRED HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE BETWEEN SHADOWY IMMIGRATION PRISONS, IGNORING CORONAVIRUS THREAT

BY MID-MARCH, it was clear that the coronavirus thrived on physical proximity, particularly indoors, and that prisons were ticking time bombs of infection. Around that time, the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced policies to temporarily cease transferring prisoners between different facilities, with the aim of stopping the spread of the virus.

This prohibition did not extend to Criminal Alien Requirement, or CAR, prisons, a shadowy network of facilities overseen by the Bureau of Prisons but run entirely by private contractors and used exclusively to house noncitizens serving federal sentences, often for immigration-related offenses. CAR facilities tend to fly under the radar in debates over conditions in federal prisons or ICE detention centers, owing to the gray area they inhabit between immigration and criminal detention.

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