Stop Using Dangerous Chemical Disinfectants at Migrant Detention Centers

Target: Matthew Albence, Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Goal: Stop using harmful HDQ Neutral disinfectant to protect the health of detained migrants.

Numerous accounts have come out from migrants that say a harmful chemical disinfectant was used frequently and unsafely at an ICE detention facility in California. The chemical is HDQ Neutral, an industrial disinfectant that is recommended only for outdoor use in well-ventilated areas. Migrants detained at Adelanto Immigrant Detention Facility said the chemical was sprayed as often as every 15-30 minutes indoors, and sometimes in close proximity to detainees.

Long-term exposure to HDQ Neutral can result in asthma, respiratory irritation, inflammation, infertility, birth defects, and cell death. Those who have been exposed for a long time to HDQ Neutral could suffer worse symptoms if infected with COVID-19. Viruses also spread more easily with HDQ Neutral in the air. The chemical irritates the lungs, making people cough and spread droplets that could contain COVID-19 if they’re infected.

The ICE detention centers are already horrible and intimidating places. Detained migrants are held in close quarters as they wait for officials to determine their legality in the United States. In these packed facilities it is easy for COVID-19 to spread. With HDQ Neutral accumulating in the air, the health of detainees is at risk. Many of these immigrants have come to the U.S. at great personal risk.

Whether or not migrants have broken the law in coming to the U.S., they should not be forced into unsafe conditions. Everyone has a right to a healthy environment. Sign the petition below to demand that the HDQ Neutral disinfectant not be used inside ICE detention centers to protect the health of migrant detainees.


Dear Mr. Albence,

HDQ Neutral disinfectant is a harmful chemical that should only be used outdoors or in well-ventilated areas, yet it has frequently been used in migrant detention centers. This is dangerous to migrants detained in these facilities, as the chemical accumulates in the air and makes it hard to breathe. Long exposure to the chemical can also result in respiratory irritation, inflammation, infertility, birth defects, and cell death.

No matter if detainees have broken the law, they have a right to be held in safe conditions. I demand that you suspend the use of HDQ Neutral disinfectant in ICE detention facilities to protect the health of detained migrants.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: US Customs and Border Patrol

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