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As Caroline ICE Center Confronts Outbreak, Kaine Talks Farmville with Local Officials

Farmvile facility
The Immigration Centers of America facility in Farmville. (Photo: Steve Helber/AP)

During a virtual roundtable with local health and government officials, Sen. Tim Kaine was briefed by health officials on lessons learned in Farmville.

The immigration detention center in Farmville suffered a major COVID-19 outbreak over the summer -- the worst of any ICE facility in the country -- after detainees were transferred in from Arizona and Florida. The majority of these transfers tested positive.

Kaine (D-Virginia) condemned the Trump administration’s decision to order this transfer. It was later revealed that its main purpose was to bring federal agents along with the detainees to quell protests in Washington D.C.

“Putting a community at risk to do an end run around a federal law that says federal agents can’t fly on charter flights is just the height of irresponsibility in my view,” Kaine said.

Piedmont Health District Director Robert Nash told Kaine the last positive COVID-19 case at the Farmville facility was confirmed on Aug. 21, and the outbreak was declared over in late September.

But 100 miles north of Farmville, another outbreak is now taking place at Virginia’s other immigration detention center, in Caroline County.

Kaine told VPM during the roundtable that he will be in touch with Caroline County officials managing that outbreak.

I have been in that facility in the last year and a half, but I haven’t been in during COVID,” Kaine said. “I think that the conversation today coupled with the news from Caroline means that I need to repeat this conversation with those officials.” Legislation in the General Assembly would give the state oversight on ICE facilities.

The Caroline Detention Facility is currently monitoring 32 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

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