As coronavirus cases among detained immigrants continue to rise, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Tuesday it has directed officials across the country to consider releasing detainees who are at increased risk of getting severely ill or dying from the highly contagious virus. Citing the “unprecedented nature” of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 12,000 people in the U.S., ICE said it is evaluating whether to release immigrants over the age of 60, as well as those who are pregnant. The agency said it is also reviewing guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine whether it should consider additional factors to free other categories of detainees.As of March 30, the agency has identified 600 vulnerable immigrants in its custody and released more than 160, according to the statement on Tuesday afternoon. The announcement, which was first reported by BuzzFeed News, comes amid a surge in confirmed coronavirus infections among ICE detainees. On Tuesday, the agency confirmed that at least 19 immigrants have now tested positive for coronavirus while in the agency’s custody, adding six new cases in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Michigan to the previous public count.New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez

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