A few days ago we reported that thousands of non-violent offenders who were released from American prisons at the beginning of the COVID outbreak (as states and the federal government scrambled to make room in their prisons as they became petri dishes during the pandemic) will soon be forced to return and finish out their sentences.
As they attempt to do everything in their power to delay their return to the penitentiary, many of these prisoners say they are refusing the COVID vaccine because they're afraid that, if they get it, the government might use it as a reason to lock them back up more quickly.
Perhaps the same logic is at play in ICE detention centers, where Axios reports 3 in 10 immigrants awaiting deportation have refused the vaccine.
Axios is worried that the "vaccine hesitancy" at play here has added an "unlikely twist to the challenges of a pandemic-era increase in border migration." ICE hasn't shared the exact number of refusals, but the 30% number "has been shared internally, according to sources familiar." Agency data show there have been nearly 20K confirmed cases and 9 deaths among ICE detainees.
Democrats, according to Axios, have urged the White House to "do more to ensure that migrants who cross the border, or other immigrants in government custody, are protected from the virus."
We can't help but wonder: as the US continues to hoard jabs (despite falling demand) while most of the developing world goes without, will some paranoid migrants start heading to the US just for the opportunity to get a free vaccine in an ICE facility before being flown back home.