How many migrants have died while in ICE custody? I wanted to find out, so I started doing research.
This blog includes details about the children, women, and men who have died while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or in private detention centers. It also includes people who died shortly after being released from the custody of ICE or of other detention centers.
There is a pattern. A migrant who is sick is – reportedly – given a brief amount of medical care. It is only after the person becomes desperately and dangerously ill that ICE and Border Patrol take that person to a hospital.
After that, many are sent back into custody after a doctor at the hospital takes a quick look at the person. Some are misdiagnosed. The person gets sicker, and is quickly taken to another emergency room or hospital for treatment.
There have been at least two cases where a toddler was very sick, and the parent was released from Border Patrol (or ICE) custody right before the child died.
It is clear that the migrants who are in custody are not receiving the medical care that they need until after it is too late.
There is another disturbing pattern. ICE places adults in solitary confinement, without access to medical care, until the person dies or commits suicide. The people sent to solitary confinement often are people who have mental illnesses or people who are transgender.
Jose de Jesus Deniz-Sahagun
June 15, 2015: Arizona Central posted an article titled: “Detention death ruled a suicide; protestors disagree”. It was written by Megan Jula and Daniel González. From the article:
Jose de Jesus Deniz-Sahagun ran into the pedestrian lane at the Douglas port of entry in mid-May trying to enter the U.S.
The Mexican national had been deported before – twice within the last four years, including an expedited removal in April 2013.
Customs and Border Protection arrested the 31-year-old on May 15 and transferred him to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.
Two days later, he was dead.
Last week, immigrant rights advocates called the death suspicious, alleging that he was beaten by guards and thrown into solitary confinement.
But as about 25 protestors gathered outside the ICE Phoenix headquarters Monday demanding an independent investigation, the Pima County medical examiner revealed to The Arizona Republic that Deniz-Sahagun committed suicide.
Pima County Chief Medical Examiner Gregory Hess said Deniz-Sahagun died on May 20 of asphyxia due to choking after he swallowed a sock. Deniz-Sahagun was held at the Eloy Detention Center while waiting for an immigration hearing…
June 17, 2015: Arizona Central posted an article titled: “Autopsy raises questions about Eloy detainee’s suicide”. It was written by Megan Jula. From the article:
Activists contend that immigrant detainee Jose de Jesus Deniz-Sahagun was beaten before he died, even though an autopsy report by the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a suicide.
The report, obtained by The Arizona Republic, does raise questions about the circumstances surrounding the death at the Eloy Detention Center.
Did detention-center personnel realize Deniz-Sahagun may have already attempted suicide while in custody?
Was the suicidal inmate adequately monitored?
Deniz-Sahagun, a 31-year-old Mexican national, killed himself May 20 by lodging a sock in his throat, the report said…
On May 19, he was evaluated for “delusional thoughts and behaviors for which he had to be restrained,” according to the autopsy. He was placed on constant watch due to concerns of suicidal intentions.
A day later, however, Deniz-Sahagun was taken off constant watch. He was placed in a single-person cell with video monitoring and security checks every 15 minutes…
…Deniz-Sahagun was last seen in video surveillance at his cell door at 4:57 p.m. May 20, according to the autopsy.
Pima County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Gregory Hess, who conducted the autopsy, said in the video someone knocked on a window at about 5:15 p.m. and appeared to say something.
“That indicates he was either alive at the time or it appeared that he was fine,” Hess said.
About 15 minutes later, a guard stopped at Deniz-Sahagun’s cell and apparently noticed something was wrong, Hess said.
Emergency medical personnel entered his cell at 5:33 p.m…
…The autopsy showed no sign of Deniz-Sahagun being beaten, Hess said.
Hess reported that Deniz-Sahagun’s head had a subscalp and subperiosteal hemorrhage – in lay terms, “basically, he had a bump on is head.”…
August 21, 2015: Phoenix New Times posted an article titled: “Amid Faux Coffins, Protesters Demand Justice for Immigrant’s Death in ICE Detention”. It was written by Elizabeth Stuart. From the article:
…Jose De Jesus Deniz-Sahagun, who choked on a sock May 20, is one of more than 150 people who have died in ICE custody over the past 12 years – a fact that demonstrators said they find reprehensible…
…A Pinal County coroner ruled Deniz-Sahagun’s death a suicide. But demonstrators weren’t ready to let ICE off the hook. Interviews with other detainees at Eloy Detention Center, they said, suggest he may have died after a brutal beating from the guards.
Deniz-Sahagun presented himself to border agents May 15, begging for asylum, after the men he hired to smuggle him over the border threatened to kill him, Porchas said. Family members reported he was in good spirits when he was transferred to Eloy Detention Center May 18…
…Examiners found no evidence of physical abuse aside from a bump on Deniz-Sahagun’s head. However, the autopsy report does raise questions about the quality of mental healthcare Deniz-Sahagun received.
On May 19, according to the report, a mental-health provider evaluated Deniz-Sahagun for “delusional thoughts and behaviors for which he had to be restrained by corrections staff” and ordered he be placed on suicide watch.
There was a broken off toothbrush handle in Deniz-Sahagun’s stomach, which suggested he may have previously attempted to kill himself.
The next day, however, Deniz-Sahagun was transferred to a single-person cell, where officers checked on him only every 15 minutes…
Raquel Calderon de Hildago
November 28, 2016: Arizona Central posted an article titled: “Another death at Eloy migrant-detention center”. It was written by Daniel Gonzalez. From the article:
Another detainee from the deadliest immigration detention center in the nation died this week.
The detainee, a 36-year-old woman from Guatemala, died Sunday at Banner Casa Grande Medical Center, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. She was being held at the Eloy Detention Center, which an investigation by The Arizona Republic found to have the highest number of deaths in the U.S.
Raquel Calderon de Hildago , was sent to the hospital after medical staff at the Eloy Detention Center called paramedics following a series of seizures, ICE officials said in a news release. The woman continued to experience seizures in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, ICE officials said.
Calderon is the third person in ICE custody to die since the start of fiscal year 2017 on Oct. 1 and the 15th tied to the Eloy Detention Center since 2003.
The 15 deaths represent 9 percent of the 165 immigration detainees who have died in ICE custody since 2003, according to ICE statistics.
A 2015 analysis of ICE data by The Republic found that there have been more deaths tied to the Eloy Detention Center than any other detention facility in the nation…
January 2, 2017: Arizona Central posted an article titled: “Autopsy: Eloy immigration detainee died of blood clots in her lung”. It was written by Daniel Gonzalez. From the article:
A Guatemalan detainee, whose death in November was the 15th tied to the Eloy Detention Center, died of blood clots in her lung, an autopsy has concluded.
The autopsy found blood clots “throughout all the lobes of the right lung” as a result of a leg injury.
The woman, Raquel Calderon de Hildago, had difficulty walking at the time she was apprehended by the Border Patrol, according to the autopsy concluded by the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office. She was taken to a hospital for evaluation, the autopsy said.
Calderon was later transferred to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She was being held at the Eloy Detention Center awaiting deportation to Guatemala when she was taken to Banner Casa Grande Hospital after experiencing a series of seizures at the detention center. The seizures continued on the way to the hospital, where she died Nov. 27, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said earlier.
The blood clots, which traveled from her leg to her lung, would have triggered the seizures, Dr. Gregory Hess, Pima County’s chief medical examiner, said in an interview…
June 20, 2018: Tuscon.com posted an article titled: “Human Rights group concerned about immigrant deaths while held in ICE custody”. It was written by Anita Snow. From the article:
…For its report, Human Rights Watch had physicians with expertise in correctional health examine the official Ice death reviews of 15 detainees who died between December 2015 and April 2017. The doctors raised questions in eight cases about ICE’s ability to address serious medical-care deficiencies.
Dr. Marcus Stern, former health services director for Washington State’s Department of Corrections analyzed ICE’s formal reviews for all 15 of those detainees who died. He has investigated medical care in ICE facilities for the Department of Homeland Security in the past.
Other medical experts consulted include Dr. Robert Cohen, past director of health services on Rikers Island, and Dr. Palav Babaria, chief administrative officer of Ambulatory Services at Alameda Health System in Oakland, California…
…The report also mentioned Raquel Calderon de Hildago, who died 18 months ago after falling ill at the Eloy Detention Center. CoreCivic, which operates the facility, said it “does not provide medical or mental health services or staffing at the Eloy Detention Center” and said the federal government is “solely responsible for providing, contracting, staffing and oversight of any medical and mental health services at Eloy.”
Calderon was awaiting deportation to Guatemala in November 2016 when she suffered seizures and was taken to a local hospital, where she died. An autopsy found she died from a blood clot from a leg injury suffered while crossing the desert into the United States.
Babaria noted delays in Calderon’s care, saying if she were seen earlier a “different outcome might have happened.”
March 22, 2017: ThinkProgress posted an article titled: “The first immigrant detainee to die under President Trump had a treatable disease”. It was written by Esther Yu His Lee. From the article:
Roger Rayson, a 47-year-old Jamaican immigrant, died last week at a Louisiana-area hospital while in the custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. He was the first detainee to die under the Trump administration, which is seeking to rapidly expand the use of detention centers to detain more immigrants.
Rayson died of apparent cardiac arrest at the Lafayette General Hospital in Lafayette on March 13, an ICE press release said. The statement said that Rayson was transferred from the LaSalle Detention Facility, an immigration detention center in Louisiana, to a nearby hospital on February 11 for nausea, vomiting, and increased pain. Doctors diagnosed him with Burkitt Lymphoma (non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma), a fast-growing lymphoma that is curable by treatment. He died within nine days of being transferred to Lafayette General Hospital.
Prior to being transferred over to immigration detention, Rayson had been serving a 30-month prison sentence for importation of cocaine. Rayson was the fourth detainee to die in ICE custody in the 2017 fiscal year, according to the ICE statement. In total, 166 people have died in ICE custody between 2003 and late November 2016.
The circumstances leading up to Rayson’s death are unclear. But Rayson wasn’t the first immigrant detainee to die at the LaSalle Detention Facility, which is owned and operated by the controversial private-prison operator GEO Group…
Osmar Epifanio Gonzalez-Gadba
March 28, 2017: LAist posted an article titled: “ICE Detainee Dies 6 Days After Attempting Suicide At Adelanto Facility”. It was written by Julia Wick. From the article:
A 32-year-old Nicaraguan man died early Tuesday morning in Victorville, six days after attempting suicide at an immigration detention facility in the high desert.
Personnel conducting routine rounds found Omar Epifanio Gonzalez-Gadba hanging in his cell at the Adelanto Detention Facility on March 22. Medical staff at Adelanto called 911 and began efforts to resuscitate him, according to an ICE statement. Gonzalez-Gadba was transferred to the intensive care unit at Victor Valley Global Medical Center in Victorville, where he was placed on life support. He never regained consciousness. The preliminary cause of death is thought to be heart failure caused by the cerebral edema which resulted from asphyxiation, according to ICE.
The privately-owned Adelanto Detention Facility is run, like many other immigrant detention facilities, by GEO Group, the nation’s second largest for-profit prison operator. ICE contracts with the city of Adelanto for the space, and the city of Adelanto contracts with GEO Group to run it, according to KPCC. Adelanto is the largest immigrant detention center in California, with a population approaching 2000 people…
…Gonzalez-Gadba is the second immigrant detainee to die in ICE custody since President Trump took office on January 20….
October 2, 2018: Los Angeles Times posted an article titled: “Nooses in cells, rotting teeth – report details harsh conditions at Adelanto immigration facility”. It was written by Paloma Esquivel and Britnny Mejia. From the article:
A Nicaraguan man who was detained at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center died in March 2017 after he was found hanging in his cell from his bedsheets. Not long after, two other detainees also used sheets in an attempt to hang themselves.
When federal officials arrived in May of this year for a surprise inspection of the privately run immigration detention facility, they found nooses made from bedsheets in 15 of 20 cells…
…The nooses are just one of many problems posing “significant health and safety risks” identified by federal inspectors at Adelanto, which can house nearly 2,000 detainees as they await the outcome of their immigration cases.
Detainees reported waiting “weeks and months” to see a doctor, and inspectors met with a dentist who dismissed the necessity of fillings, and suggested that detainees use string from their socks to floss, the report said.
Inspectors also said they found that detainees were commonly subjected to disciplinary segregation before being found guilty of violating rules…
…The Times reported in August 2017 that there had been at least five attempted suicides at the facility in less than one year, according to a review of 911 calls…
…According to the report, in the months after Osmar Epifanio Gonzalez-Gadba, 32, of Nicaragua was found hanging from bedsheets in his cell and later died, ICE compliance reports documented at least three suicide attempts by hanging at Adelanto, two of which specifically used bedsheets.
Still, when inspectors visited the facility, they found braided sheets that both staff and detainees referred to as nooses hanging from the vents in 15 of the approximately 20 male detainee cells that they visited in four housing units…
…The report also notes that some detainees reported waiting “weeks and months” to see a doctor and said that appointments were canceled without explanation, with detainees placed back on the waiting list.
From November 2017 to April 2018, detainees filed 80 medical grievances with the facility for not receiving urgent care, not being seen for months for persistent health conditions and not receiving prescribed medication, according to the report.
Inspectors also highlighted serious problems with dental care at the facility, saying detainees are placed on wait lists for months and, sometimes, years to receive basic care, “resulting in tooth loss and unnecessary extractions in some cases.”
No detainees have received fillings in the last four years, according to the report. One detainee reported multiple teeth falling out while waiting more than two years for cavities to be filled…
Sergio Alonso Lopez
April 14, 2017: ABC News 7 posted an article titled: “Mexican detainee dies while in ICE custody at Victorville medical center”. From the article:
A Mexican national died of internal bleeding while in the custody of ICE at the Victor Valley Global Medical Center in Victorville Thursday.
Sergio Alonso Lopez, 55, had been transferred from a hospital at the Adelanto Detention Facility on April 1 after throwing up blood, according to ICE. Department officials said he had a history of medical issues that included cirrhosis, hypertension, alcohol abuse and opioid dependence with withdrawal symptoms.
ICE said the preliminary cause of death for Lopez was determined to be internal bleeding.
The agency notified state health and local law enforcement agencies of Lopez’s death as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General and the ICE Office Professional Responsibility. ICE notified Mexican consular representatives who will contact Lopez’s next of kin.
The department said Lopez had been in custody since Feb. 7 after he was arrested in Los Angeles by an ICE operations team. His deportation case had been pending in court at the time of his death…
January 6, 2019: NBC News posted an article titled: “22 immigrants died in ICE detention centers during the past 2 years”. It was written by Lisa Riordan Seville, Hannah Rappeleye and Andrew W. Lehren. From the article:
…When Sergio Alonso Lopez, 55, entered Adelanto in February 2017, he had been undergoing methadone treatment for 17 years.
A doctor at Adelanto ordered him to taper off methadone over 12 days, and ICE review shows. Staff failed to administer several doses of methadone. A nurse told investigators there was little direction about prioritizing patients and too few staff.
On April 1, Lopez was rushed to the hospital. Officers cuffed his swollen leg to a hospital bed. Doctors treated him for cirrhosis, sepsis and serious internal bleeding. On the afternoon of April 13, he began vomiting blood. One officer with the Geo Group, a private prison company, guarding him tipped Lopez’s head so he would not chicken, while another ran into the hall to yell “Code Blue,” according to the report. Lopez died three hours later of massive internal bleeding, cirrhosis, and substance abuse…
Jeancarlo Alfonso Jimenez-Joseph
May 16, 2017: NBC News posted an article titled: “Death of Panamanian Detainee Held in Solitary Confinement Initially Ruled Suicide”. It was written by Annie Rose Ramos. From the article:
Federal authorities are investigating the death of a Panamanian immigrant who was being held in solitary confinement at an immigration center in southern Georgia, officials said this week.
Jean Jimenez-Joseph, 27, was found unresponsive with a sheet around his neck in his cell at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said Monday…
…On the day Jimenez died, he had served 19 of his 23 days of isolation.
However, this was not the first time Jimenez was in isolation. “He was placed in disciplinary segregation once before for fighting with another detainee,” said Brian Cox. That period of isolation spanned April 13-18, he said.
Per a recommendation by United Nations special rapporteur, detained immigrants should not be placed in segregation for more than 15 days…
…According to a year-long investigation released just this month on behalf of Penn State Law and Project South, a Southern-based social justice organization, even though health care staff exists at Stewart, they primarily handle suicide risks, which are reportedly health with by placing the at-risk individual in segregation. The investigation says immigrants do not approach the mental health care staff because they are too afraid of being placed in segregation…
Jimenez’s autopsy will take place no later than Thursday, according to GBI, and ICE have advised Panamanian consular representatives who have notified his next of kin.
August 26, 2018: KDRV.com posted an article titled: “The Jump That Landed Him In Solitary”. From the article:
…The night he died in May 2017, Jimenez was more than two dozen people in solitary at the Stewart Detention Center, a hulking complex just outside Lumpkin, Georgia, that can house nearly 2,000 immigrants.
He was the fourth detainee to die in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in 2017 and the 170th since the agency began in 2003…
…Special agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation spent months interviewing witnesses, combing over documents, sifting through surveillance footage and listening to audio recordings after Jimenez’s death.
The conclusion they reached: Suicide. There was no foul play.
But even though their case is closed, the records GBI investigators unearthed could provide crucial information as a federal inquiry continues, Jimenez’s family pushes for answers and authorities investigate another apparent suicide in solitary at Stewart.
The photos, files and recordings from the state investigation into Jimenez’s death offer a rare public window into life behind bars in the largest immigrant detention center in the Southeast. They reveal key details about events preceding Jimenez’s death. And they raise larger questions about the quality of medical and mental health care the tens of thousands of people in ICE custody receive, at a time when the administration has vowed to increase the number of undocumented immigrants it detains and deports.
Jimenez’s family alleges that the staff at Stewart knew he needed better mental health care but punished him instead of treating him…
October 28, 2018: The Intercept posted an article titled: “Immigrant Detainee Called Ice Help Line Before Killing Himself In Isolation Cell”. It was written by Spencer Woodman and José Olivares. From the article:
The young Panamanian man used to tell his fellow immigration detainees that he was the reincarnation of Julius Caesar. Sometimes he hallucinated voices instructing him to kill himself. Things got so bad that Jeancarlo Alfonso Jimenez-Joseph, a 27-year-old ICE detainee, called a federal hotline on April 4, 2017, asking for help.
Documents reviewed by The Intercept show that Jimenez-Joseph repeatedly brought his suicidal thoughts to the attention of officials at the rural Stewart Detention Center in Georgia, a private Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center run by CoreCivic.
Just six weeks after his call to ICE’s help line, Jimenez-Joseph killed himself in a tiny solitary confinement cell where he had been held for 19 days…
…In 2013, ICE adopted a policy that put new restrictions on placing detainees with a history of mental illness in solitary confinement. The policy requires that such detainees be removed from isolation if their mental state appears to be deteriorating…
…It is unclear exactly what he conveyed in his complaint to the help line a few weeks later, on April 4. But the existence of the call shows that Ice officials far beyond Stewart Detention Center, or even the agency broader region, had been warned of Jimenez-Joseph’s deteriorating psychological condition. Additionally, the log suggests that Jimenez-Joseph felt his situation had become serious enough to elevate his concerns above management at the CoreCivic-run facility….
…ICE’s central office took at least some note of the call: It prompted ICE authorities to contact ICE regional headquarters in Atlanta to check on how Jimenez-Joseph was being treated, according to the call log. Within 24 hours, ICE’s central office received a response from Atlanta: The privately run facility said it knew of Jimenez-Joseph’s condition, and officials insisted that he was “being treated with medication and therapy.”…
December 4, 2017: The Denver Channel posted an article titled: “Man, 64, dies while in ICE custody in Colorado”. It was written by Blair Miller. From the article:
A 64-year-old man in custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement died Saturday at an Aurora hospital, the agency said Monday.
Kamyar Samimi, 64, originally of Iran, was arrested by Ice agents in Denver on Nov. 17 – more than 12 years after he was convicted of cocaine possession in Arapahoe County.
According to ICE, Samimi first entered the U.S. in New York in April 1976 as a student, and became a permanent resident in May of 1979. But in January 1987, ICE says, his application for full citizenship was denied because he didn’t submit the correct documents.
Samimi was off the radar of law enforcement after that until the 2005 arrest for possession of cocaine. He received a two-year deferred sentence and 64 hours of community service upon his conviction.
But ICE says that since he was convicted of a felony, he was eligible for removal from the U.S.
Agents arrested him at his home Nov. 17, and Samimi was served a notice to appear before an immigration judge.
Samimi had been in custody at the Aurora Contract Detention Facility since his arrest until he “fell ill,” according to ICE, on Saturday morning.
Emergency responders came to the jail, started performing CPR, and transported Samimi to the University of Colorado Medical Center of Saturday. Staffers there pronounced Samimi dead just after noon Saturday.
ICE said his preliminary cause of death was cardiac arrest…
January 6, 2019: NBC News posted an article titled: “22 immigrants died in ICE detention centers during the past 2 years”. It was written by Lisa Riordan Seville, Hannah Rappleye and Andrew W. Lehern. From the article:
…Seven months later, at a facility 1,000 miles away in Denver, the Geo Group would receive another detainee with a history of methadone use, an Iranian-born father of two named Kamyar Samimi.
In November 2017, ICE agents arrested the 64-year old outside his suburban Denver home. He had lived in the U.S. since 1976.
Twelve years earlier, Samimi was convicted of a possession of a gram or less of cocaine, a low-level felony that stripped him of his green card. Soon after his arrest, he was taken to the Aurora Detention Facility, which has a history of substandard medical care…
…Samimi had been taken off methadone upon arriving in detention, according to records review by NBC News. His autopsy stated that Samimi “had been ‘clean’ for two weeks in the ICE facility and was being watched for withdrawal, dehydration, nausea and vomiting.” He was also on suicide watch.
On the morning of Dec. 2, he began spitting up blood, according to the autopsy. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. While rare, “methadone withdrawal cannot be ruled out as the cause of his death,” the coroner noted in his report.
Soon after his death, the ACLU of Colorado began looking into what happened to Samimi…
April 6, 2019: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado posted a press release titled: “ACLU Of Colorado Sues ICE For Information About Death Of Iranian Man At Detention Facility”. From the press release:
The ACLU of Colorado filed a lawsuit this morning seeking previously requested records related to the arrest, detention, and subsequent death of Kamyar Samimi, an Iranian man who died on December 2, 2017 while in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody at the Aurora Contract Detention Facility, a for-profit detention center operated by GEO Group, Inc.
Mr. Samimi came to the United States as a student in 1976 and became a Legal Permanent Resident in 1978. ICE agents arrested him at his home on November 17, 2017, and kept him in ICE detention, where he died 15 days later. ICE still has not provided a thorough explanation as to what caused Mr. Samimi’s death. Meanwhile, multiple recent reports and complaints have highlighted concerns about medical care in ICE detention.
“It has now been sixteen months since Mr. Samimi died, and ICE continues to keep the community in the dark about this tragedy,” said ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney Arash Jahanan. “All we know is that ICE arrested a man who lived in the U.S. for over four decades, and 15 days later he died in ICE’s care. The public deserves to know more and this lawsuit seeks that information.”
The ACLU of Colorado filed its first Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on December 20, 2017. In response, ICE produced only five pages, which had nothing to do with Mr. Samimi’s death. The ACLU of Colorado appealed and ICE responded on July 3, 2018, stating that its investigation of Mr. Samimi’s death had been completed and more documents would be forthcoming. But ICE has not produced any additional documents, nor has it indicated when it might be doing so.
“Immigration detention facilities, like the one operated by GEO Group in Aurora, are all too often cloaked in secrecy, offering little to no transparency into the way detainees are treated within their walls,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein. “We are filing suit to further the public’s right to know what goes on in these secretive taxpayer-funded institutions.”
July 17, 2019: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado posted a press release titled: “Nightmares and Tragedies in Immigration Detention”. From the press release:
Kamyar Samimi died in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on December 2, 2017, 15 days after ICE agents arrested him. Mr. Samimi held a green card and had lived in the U.S. for more than four decades. Within days of his death, ACLU of Colorado sent ICE a request under the Freedom of Information Act for records related to his arrest, detention, and subsequent death.
It took 17 months and a federal lawsuit for ICE to produce its report about Mr. Samimi’s death. The report confirmed our worst fears about why ICE kept the public in the dark about this tragedy for so long. It paints a gruesome picture of the conditions inside the Aurora detention facility operated by GEO Group, Inc., a for-profit prison corporation; and a gruesome picture of how our government treats immigrant detainees.
Medical staff at GEO were ignorant about how to treat Mr. Samimi’s opioid addiction and apathetic about his overall care. The physician’s decision to cut Mr. Samimi off methadone was medically unjustifiable. To make matters worse, nurses failed to provide him with the correct doses of medication designed to treat the subsequent brutal withdrawal symptoms and to monitor his condition appropriately. They ignored his desperate pleas for medical attention because they thought he was faking it. Mr. Samimi became suicidal. As his deteriorating condition drew him closer to death, the nurses didn’t follow suicide-watch protocols or contact the physician, who apparently ignored calls when he wasn’t at the facility…
…Ultimately, Mr. Samimi didn’t take his own life. It was snuffed out by a broken system. After vomiting blood and collapsing, Mr. Samimi stopped breathing. He was finally taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Later, the corner’s autopsy would cite gastrointestinal bleeding as contributing factors in his death. The forensic pathologist wrote that methadone withdrawal could not be ruled out as the cause of death…
February 1, 2018: NBC News posted an article titled: “Cuban detainee, 33, dies in custody of U.S. immigration authorities”. It was written by Daniella Silva. From the article:
A Cuban national died in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at a clinic in Florida, the agency said Wednesday, becoming the second detainee to die in custody in as many months.
Yulio Castro-Garrido, 33, died Tuesday night at a Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, ICE said in a statement Wednesday evening.
Earlier this month, Castro had been diagnosed with pneumonia by ICE medical personnel at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, according to the statement. He was transported to Southwest Regional Medical Center in Cuthbert, Georgia, on Jan. 7 after the diagnosis, according to the statement.
“After diagnosis, Mr. Castro initially resisted medical treatment which caused his condition to worsen,” ICE said. “On Jan. 9, IHSC [ICE Health Service Corps] staff coordinated the transfer of Castro to the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Ga. where he was placed on a ventilator to stabilize him.”
That hospital transported Castro to the Mayo Clinic for additional treatment on Jan. 17, according to the statement.
“Mr. Castro slipped into a coma Jan. 22 and never regained consciousness,” the statement read…
…Castro was placed in ICE custody on Nov. 24 after being transferred from the D. Ray James Federal Correctional Institute in Folkston, Georgia, the agency said. He had been convicted on Dec. 8, 2016, of “conspiracy to transport and move an undocumented alien within the United States by means of transportation,” according to the statement.
Castro was sentenced to a year and a day of confinement and three years of supervised probation…
June 10, 2019: WYNC Studios posted an article titled: “ICE Records: III Migrant Continued Working in ICE Custody Until he was Hospitalized. Three Weeks Later, He Died.” It was written by José Olivares. From the article:
Thirty-three-year-old Yulio Castro-Garrido, an Immigration and Custom Enforcement detainee from Cuba, had no health problems when he first entered ICE custody at the Stewart Detention Center, a sprawling immigrant jail in rural Georgia run by private prison company CoreCivic. But Castro-Garrido died two months later of pneumonia, a lung infection and viral influenza, according to the ICE Detainee Death Review of his case.
On January 30, 2018, Castro-Garrido died in a hospital after spending six weeks at the Stewart Detention Center. The review notes three “areas of concern” regarding the migrant’s care while in ICE custody. These include: staff neglecting to monitor Castro-Garrido’s blood pressure after showing signs of stage-two hypertension, and staff not immediately calling for an ambulance on the day he was taken to a hospital, causing a delay in his access to emergency care.
The third concern detailed in the review involves labor practices at the facility. After reporting his illness to staff, Castro-Garrido worked in the detention facility kitchen for food service duties under CoreCivic supervision, potentially transmitting his illness to others. He even worked in the kitchen on the day he was taken from the facility in an ambulance, the ICE review notes. In the past the facility has fallen under criticism for allegedly threatening migrants who refuse to take part in labor at the facility…
Here is a summary of what happened to Yulio Castro-Garrido:
- He was booked into the Stewart Detention Center on November 24, 2017, while waiting his immigration hearing before a judge. Stewart healthcare staff noted he had no health problems aside from a “slightly elevated blood pressure”.
- Days later, he had a physical exam with a different nurse. It was documented that he had high blood pressure. According to the review, his blood pressure readings “met the American Heart Association criteria for stage two hypertension.” Nurses did not initiate blood pressure monitoring or refer him to a provider.
- December 7, 2017 – He began working in the detention center kitchen, even though records show he was not medically cleared for labor at the facility.
- Late December and early January, he began reporting his illness to Stewart Detention. Center staff.
- January 6, 2018, he reported to the detention center’s medical unit with a fever, an “abnormally rapid heart rate”, and an elevated blood pressure. He was given cold medicine, Benadryl and acetaminophen. The nurse did not remove his medical clearance to work in the kitchen.
- January 7, 2018, he worked at the facility kitchen for food service.
- Later that night, he told his cellmate about his worsening health. The cellmate notified a shift supervisor at the facility. The cellmate had to help carry Castro-Garrido to the medical unit.
- 6:40 p.m., January 7, 2018: Castro-Garrido was having difficult speaking due to shortness of breath, a temperature of 100 degrees, an “exceptionally fast heart rate” and very low oxygen saturation.
- 6:56 p.m. January 7, 2018: Staff were told to call for an ambulance for him to be taken to the hospital. A staff member “did not authorize an EMS call until 16 minutes later, causing a delay in Castro’s access to emergency care.”
- 7:43 p.m., January 7, 2018: ambulance arrives
- Upon arrival at Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center, his temperature was 104.2 degrees. He was diagnosed with multifocal pneumonia and influenza A.
- January 8, 2018: He was sent to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital where he could get a higher level of care.
- January 12, 2018: Hospital staff had to ask a Stewart Detention Center supervisor to remove Castro-Garrido’s restraints. A short while later, his right lung collapsed and he went into respiratory failure. Stuart Detention supervisor finally approves his family for visitation later that day.
- January 16, 2018: His respiratory functions shut down, due to the infection in his lungs. He had abnormally high carbon dioxide levels in his blood. Hospital staff medically paralyzed him, and decided he should be taken to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.
- January 17, 2018: Staff at Mayo Clinic were unable to pump his blood via ECMO therapy because of brain injury and gas-filled lesions in his lungs.
- Six days later, Castro-Garrido went into cardiac arrest and was in a coma on critical condition
- January 30, 2018, Castro-Garrido died.
February 22, 2018: New York Daily News posted an article titled: “Man awaiting deportation dies in custody, the third ICE detainee death this year”. It was written by Brian Lisi. From the article:
A 59-year-old man died Monday after being in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for over a month.
Luis Ramirez-Marcano had been awaiting deportation to Cuba since his arrest Jan. 12, but on Feb. 17 he was transferred from the Krone Detention Center fo Miami’s Kendall Regional Medical Center after he complained of abdominal pain, the Hill reports.
“On Feb. 18, medical staff at KRMC informed ICE staff that Ramirez-Marcano was transferred to the intense care unit where his condition continued to decline,” the agency said in a statement.
“Despite round-the-clock care, Ramirez-Marcano passed away the afternoon of February 19.”
His official cause of death remains unknown…
May 31, 2018: The Guardian posted an article titled: “Transgender Honduran woman’s death in US ‘ice box’ detention prompts outcry”. It was written by Carla Green. From the article:
A transgender Honduran woman died in Ice custody last Friday after coming to the US as part of a caravan of Central American migrants, including several dozen other transgender women fleeing persecution in their respective countries.
Roxsana Hernández reportedly died from HIV-related complications following an alleged five-day detention in what’s known by immigrant rights groups as the “ice box” – Ice detention facilities notorious for their freezing temperatures…
A statement from Ice said that Hernández arrived in the US on 9 May at the San Ysidro port of entry, was transferred to the transgender unit of Cibola County Correctional Center in New Mexico, and was hospitalize the next day for dehydration, pneumonia and other HIV-related complications. She died eight days later.
According to Ice, Hernández was the sixth immigrant to die in its custody since October of last year…
November 26, 2018: Rewire News posted an article titled: “Legal Advocates Seeking #JusticeForRoxsana Announce Lawsuit”. It was written by Tina Vasquez. From the article:
…At a press conference Monday in San Diego, the Transgender Law Center (TLC), the Black LGBTQ+ Migrant Project (BLMP), Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, and the law office of R. Andrew Free announced that they filed a Notice of Wrongful Death Tort Claim in New Mexico on behalf of Roxsana Hernández. The claim essentially puts government entitles on notice that advocates will soon file a wrongful death lawsuit against the state of Mexico, the first step in what will likely be a years-long process “to get justice for Roxsana and her family,” said Anna Castro, a media consultant with the Transgender Law Center…
…According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which used Hernández’s former name when publishing the details of her death, the Honduran asylum seeker was admitted to Cibola General Hospital on May 17 “with symptoms of pneumonia, dehydration and complications associated with HIV.” Later that day, she was transferred via air ambulance to Lovelace Medical Center (LMC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she remained in the intensive care unit until she died on May 25. According to ICE, the 33-year-old’s preliminary cause of death was cardiac arrest.
At Monday’s press conference, advocates revealed previously unknown details surrounding Hernández’s death.
“According to an independent autopsy report, Ms. Hernández endured physical assault and abuse while in custody,” according to the wrongful death tort claim. “Specifically, forensic evidence indicates she was handcuffed so tightly as to cause deep tissue brushing and struck repeatedly on the back and rib cage by an asp or similar instrument while her hands were restrained behind her back.”
Lynly Egyes, TLC’s director of litigation, said in a statement that the autopsy report by an independent board-certified forensic pathologist suggests that Hernández was “shackled for a very long time and very tightly, enough to cause deep bruising on her wrists.”
“In the final days of her life, she was transferred from California to Washington to New Mexico, shackled for days on end. If she was lucky, she was given a bottle of water to drink,” Egyes said. “Her cause of death was dehydration and complications related to HIV. Her death was entirely preventable.”…
Manuel Antonio Cano Pacheco
June 9, 2018: Des Moines Register posted an article titled: “Des Moines DREAMER dies within weeks after being sent back to Mexico’s violence”. It was written by Rekha Basu. From the article:
Manuel Antonio Cano Pacheco should have graduated from high school in Des Moines last month. The oldest of four siblings should have walked across a stage in a cap and gown to become a proud symbol to his sister and brothers of the rewards of hard work and education.
Instead, Manuel died a brutal death alone in a foreign land, a symbol of gang supremacy in a country plagued by violent drug cartels. It happened three weeks after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement returned him to Mexico, a country he had left at age 3 when his parents brought him here without a visa.
The fact that America was the only home he has known made Manuel eligible to apply for and be granted DACA status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program initiated by former President Barack Obama. It exempted from deportation certain young people, referred to as DREAMERS, who were brought to the U.S. without papers as children.
But that status didn’t protect Manuel when he came to immigration authorities’ attention after being stopped for speeding last fall and charged with driving under the influence. An ICE spokesperson said in a statement that ICE officers arrested him in Polk County Jail, and a federal immigration judge terminated his DACA status because of two misdemeanor convictions.
The statement from Shawn Neudauer, ICE public affairs officer, also said Manuel wasn’t technically deported, but he was escorted to Mexico by ICE deportation officers at the Laredo, Texas, border this past April 24. He called it a voluntary departure process that doesn’t carry the penalties of a formal deportation. But the impact was the same: Manuel had no choice but to go back, either as a deportee or in a “voluntary departure.” He chose the “voluntary” route…
June 11, 2019: Democrats.org reported:
…In May, three weeks after arriving in Mexico, Cano-Pacheco was killed in the north-central state of Zacatecas. His throat was slit while getting food with an acquaintance of his cousin’s, his family and friends told Des Moines Register.”
June 12, 2018: ABC News posted an article titled: “19-year-old Iowa man killed weeks after being deported to Mexico”. It was written by Kaelyn Forde.
…Manuel Antonio Cano Pacheco, 19, was kidnapped and killed on May 18 in Zacatecas, Mexico, his mother said. Just weeks before, on April 24, he had been escorted by officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the border at Laredo, Texas, after living in Iowa for nearly his entire life…
…Pacheco had been in Mexico only three weeks when his mother said he was kidnapped and killed. He grew up in Des Moines with his mother and siblings, and had been granted permission to stay in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), in May 2015, according to ICE.
An Obama-era program, DACA allows some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children — also known as Dreamers — to live and work. The program is in jeopardy as the courts decide whether President Trump’s plans to end it are illegal.
In a statement, ICE said Pacheco’s DACA status had been terminated after hew as convicted of three misdemeanors. Court records show he was convicted on marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession charges as well as traffic violations…
…Pacheco was detained on Sept. 27, 2017, his mother said, and time in the detention center was hard on him, a sentiment echoed by Alfaro-Santiz, the pastor…
…When Trump announced that he planned to end DACA, his mother said, Pacheco was worried, as was she. Her family had told her how Zacatecas in north-central Mexico had grown to be one of the most violent places in the country…
Marco Antonio Muñoz
June 10, 2018: The Guardian posted an article titled: “Honduran border crosser separated from family kills himself in Texas jail”. From the article:
A Honduran man who entered the US illegally killed himself in a Texas jail despite guards checking on him every half-hour and the presence of a camera in his padded-cell, a sheriff’s report showed.
The Star county sheriff’s office said in a report on the incident, which happened in May, that Marco Antonio Muñoz, 39, became combative during the booking process and was restrained and placed in a padded cell overnight.
Like a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) news release on the case on Saturday, the sheriff’s report made no mention of why Muñoz might have become enraged and then despondent. It said he did not show any mental health problems of say anything about that might have suggested he was thinking about killing himself.
But the Washington Post cited unnamed border agents with detailed knowledge of what occurred when it reported that Muñoz entered the country with his wife and their three-year-old son.
He became enraged and had to be restrained when agents said the family would be separated, the paper said.
Under a “zero tolerance” Trump administration policy announced by the attorney general, Jeff Sessions in May, families suspected of crossing the border illegally are separated. The policy has promoted widespread criticism and opposition.
The Starr County sheriff’s report said officers checked on Muñoz every 30 minutes and at least once more during the morning shift before he was found unresponsive on the morning of 13 May, a day after border patrol agents brought him to jail.
It said video footage showed Muñoz used a sweater to strangle himself.
The report did not say what time that occurred. Muñoz was declared dead around 10am, the report said…
June 10, 2018: NBC News posted an article titled: “Immigrant dies by suicide in Texas jail after being apprehended at border, U.S. authorities say”. It was written by Daniella Silva. From the article:
…Marco Antonio Muñoz was found dead of an apparent suicide at a jail in Starr County, Texas, on May 13, according to a statement from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson on Sunday.
He was apprehended on May 11, by agents with the Welasco, Texas Border Patrol Station and allegedly became “disruptive and combative” while at a processing center for people in the country illegally, according to CBP. He was transferred to the jail as a result, the statement said.
Muñoz’s death was attributed to suicide caused by self-strangulation, according to an incident report filed to the Texas attorney general’s office by the Starr County Sheriff’s Office. He died despite being checked on by officers every half hour and the presence of a cell camera, according to the report, which was obtained by The Associated Press Sunday.
The Washington Post, which first reported the death, said that Muñoz, 39, was a Honduran father who suffered a breakdown after he was separated from his wife and 3-year-old son. The Post cited Border Patrol Agents with knowledge of the incident.
An agent told the newspaper that Muñoz had “lost it” after Border Patrol told the family they would be separated and that, “They had to use physical force to take the child out of his hands.”
Neither the incident report nor the CBP statement mention if Muñoz was separated with his family, but both describe his behavior after his detention as combative…
June 11, 2018: USAttorneys.com posted information titled: “Honduran Man Takes his Life in Texas Jail Cell After Being Separated from his Wife and 3-Year-Old Son”. From the information:
…The Washington Post, which was the first source to disclose the details of this unexpected death, stated that Muñoz, who is a Honduran father, “crossed the Rio Grande with his wife and 3-year-old son on May 12th near the tiny town of Granjeno, Texas.” The area is known to be a “popular crossing point for Central American families and teenagers who turn themselves in to apply for asylum in the United States.”
Shortly after Muñoz and the family were taken into custody, they arrived at a processing station nearby to McAllen and told officials they wanted to apply for asylum. Border Patron agents informed the family that they would be separated. Naturally, like any father, Muñoz “lost it,” according to one agent. He was later booked into the Starr County jail and officials stated that he remained combative. They decided to place him in a padded isolation cell, without any information regarding the whereabouts of his family was or when he would be released.
On May 13th, just two days after crossing the border, a guard passed by Muñoz cell at 9:50 a.m. and that is when he noticed Muñoz “lying in the center of the floor unresponsive and without a pulse.” The source stated that the guard “noticed a small pool of blood by his nose” and “a piece of clothing twisted around his neck which was tied to the drainage location in the center of the cell.” This information was taken from an incident report filed by the sheriff’s department that morning.
After Muñoz took his own life, his wife and son were released from Border Patrol custody. Apparently, Muñoz had suffered a breakdown after being separated from his wife and child after crossing the border and may not have been able to handle the stress and worry he felt not knowing what was going to happen or how long he would be kept away from his family.
The strange thing about this case is that the death of Muñoz was not publicly disclosed by the Department of Homeland Security nor did it appear in any local news reports when it first happened back in May. While news sources were able to get their hands on the incident report nearly a month later, the source highlighted that Starr County authorities have “refused to provide a copy of Muñoz’s autopsy report” and have not yet responded to requests for more information about the cause of death…
Huy Chi Tran
June 16, 2018: Arizona Central posted an article titled: “Officials” Vietnamese man in Arizona dies in ICE custody”, It was written by Bayan Wang. From the article:
A Vietnamese man awaiting deportation died Tuesday while in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody in Arizona, according to ICE officials.
Huy Chi Tran, 47, obtained legal permanent residency into the U.S. in 1984. But a judge ordered his removal in 2004 from the U.S. based on a criminal conviction “stemming from charges related to aggravated assault,” ICE officials said in a statement Saturday.
Tran is the seventh detainee to die in ICE custody in fiscal year 2018, which began Oct. 1, 2017, according to ICE.
Following his release from an Arizona prison in May, Tran was transferred to the Eloy Detention Center on May 28, where he awaited deportation to Vietnam.
On June 5, Tran “was found unresponsive in his residential unit,” officials said.
He was transported to the Banner Casa Grande Medical enter where he was pronounced dead on Tuesday.
ICE policy requires officials to notify the local Vietnam consulate of Tran’s death.
An autopsy is pending to determine the official cause of death, officials said.
January 6, 2019: NBC News posted an article titled: “22 immigrants died in ICE detention centers during the past 2 years”. It was written by Lisa Riordan Seville, Hannah Rappleye and Andrew W. Lehren. From the article:
…Huy Chi Tran, 47, arrived from Vietnam in 1984 and became a legal permanent resident. ICE records show Tran also suffered from schizophrenia. After being convicted of assault, he was stripped of his green card and ordered deported in the mid-2000’s.
Vietnamese immigrants like Tran who arrived before 1993 have been considered protected from deportation since 2008, when the U.S. and Vietnam signed a repatriation agreement. Over the last year, the Trump administration has moved to reverse those protections, detaining Vietnamese regardless of when they arrived amid a wider effort to deport immigrants whose countries would not previously take them back.
ICE picked Tran up in May 2018 from an Arizona prison where he was serving time for disorderly conduct. He was slated to be deported before he died of a heart attack in June…
Zeresenay Ermias Testfatsion
July 9, 2018: U.S. News and World Report posted an article titled: “Eritrean US Detainee Kills Himself at Egyptian Airport” From the article:
An Eritrean national who was denied asylum in the United States and was being sent back to his homeland has died in an apparent suicide in a holding area at Cairo International Airport, airport officials said in Saturday.
Zeresenay Ermias Testfatsion was a detainee of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and was being held by Egyptian authorities at the airport, awaiting his return to Asmara, Eritrea, ICE said.
Testfatsion, 34, was found dead on Wednesday in a shower area and his remains were taken to a hospital, ICE said…
…His remains will be transported to Eritrea, ICE said in a statement, adding that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and the ICE Office Professional Responsibility were notified…
…Court records show Testfatsion went to the U.S. seeking asylum “for fear of returning to his country.”
Testfatsion was ordered deported on October 2017, and after he wasn’t deported within 90 days he petitioned to be released, arguing he should not be forced to stay in detention indefinitely because the Eritrean Consulate hadn’t taken action in his case.
His petition, dated Jan. 30, said ICE was working on travel documents but had not been able to remove him because the Eritrean government views those who leave the country as traitors, making it virtually impossible for him to get necessary travel documents…
…During Testfatsion’s 16-month detention in the United States, he spent time at centers in Pampano Beach, Florida, and Youngstown, Ohio, court records show….
Efraín Romero de la Rosa
July 13, 2018: Albany Herald post an article titled: “Third Stewart detention facility detainee passes away”. It was written by Tessa Green. From the article:
According to a news release from U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Efrain De La Rosa, a Mexican national being held in the Stewart Detention Facility in Lumpkin, passed away this week. De la Rosa’s death marked the third death of a detainee at the Stewart detention facility and the second death this year.
Authorities said De La Rosa was found unresponsive in his cell at 10:38 p.m., Tuesday, and medical personnel immediately began to perform CPR and contacted Stewart County Emergency Medical Services. He arrived at the facility at 10:48 p.m. and was pronounced dead at Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center in Cuthbert at 11:29 p.m…
…De La Rosa was 40 at the time of his death, and the preliminary cause of death appears to be self-inflicted strangulation…
July 27, 2018: The Intercept posted an article titled: “ICE Detainee Diagnosed with Schizophrenia Spent 21 Days In Solitary Confinement, Then Took His Own Life”. It was written by José Olivares. From the article:
Isaí Romero had no idea how to break the news to his parents that their son – his brother – had died. The elderly couple, nearly 2,000 miles away in Puebla, Mexico, had been anxiously waiting for their 40-year-old son, Efraín Romero de la Rosa, to be deported back home. Efraín was also looking forward to it.
“His big hope was that – going to Mexico,” Isaí Romero, who lives in North Carolina, told The Intercept by phone. The deportation would be a relief compared to the limbo of immigration detention, where Efraín had landed after being placed in immigration removal proceedings by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But Efraín never made it out of the ICE facility…
…Efraín Romero’s suicide came at the end of 21 days in solitary confinement, according to investigators.
Romero had been previously diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to documents from the Virginia Department of Corrections. His death parallels a case from May 2017, when 27-year-old Jean Jimenez-Joseph, another Steward detainee with a mental health diagnosis, killed himself at the facility after 19 days of solitary confinement. The United Nations has previously said that such confinements could constitute torture and ICE itself has issued strict directives about isolating detainees, including specifically on segregating people with mental health conditions for extended periods…
…Efraín Romero entered ICE custody in March, after being arrested for larceny. He had been staying with his brother Isaí in North Carolina…
…The Stewart Detention Facility is managed by the private detention corporation CoreCivic under a contract from ICE. The facility is located on the remote outskirts of Lumpkin, Georgia, making visits from family, advocates, and lawyers a challenge. It has fallen under continued scrutiny for its internal operations, by both advocacy organizations and the U.S. government itself…
According to a December 2017 report released by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, Steward violated some of the standards, including when it came to the use of “segregation” – also known as solitary confinement. According to the report, staff did not always tell detainees why they were being placed in solitary confinement. Sometimes, the report notes, detainees were places in solitary “for violations of minor rules” without required written notification for reasons of lockdown. As The Intercept previously reported, detainees at Stewart have been punished with solitary confinement for refusing to perform voluntary labor…
…Why Efraín Romero was placed in solitary confinement during his time at Stewart remains unclear…
…ICE did not answer questions regarding Romero’s mental health, including whether the agency received his mental health diagnosis from the Virginia Department of Corrections. The Virginia Department of Corrections did not respond to requests for comment…
August 29, 2018: NBC News posted an article titled: “Guatemalan mom says inadequate medical care in ICE custody led to toddler’s death”. It was written by Daniella Silva. From the article:
A toddler who came across the border with her mother seeking asylum died after receiving inadequate medical care in ICE custody, according to lawyers for the woman.
Yazmin Juárez came to the United States in March with her 18-month-old daughter Mariee. In May, the little girl died. The Guatemalan mother and her lawyers now plan to file several lawsuits alleging that negligence and inadequate medical care when they were held in detention led to the toddler’s death.
Juárez, 20, filed a notice of claim Tuesday against the city of Eloy, Arizona, which is the primary contractor of the facility 900 miles away in Dilley, Texas, under an unusual arrangement between Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Eloy and CoreCivic, the private company that runs the facility…
…Juárez and Mariee were transferred to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Dilley on March 5, a few days after they crossed the border and requested asylum, according to a statement from the law firm. Mariee had no health problems at the time, according to the statement…
…At the detention facility, Mariee became sick with a severe respiratory infection that went “woefully under-treated for nearly a month,” according to the law firm. Juárez continually sought attention from medical staff but she was prescribed medications that did not improve the child’s condition and Mariee continued to get worse, according to a timeline provided by the law firm…
…Juárez took Mariee to see medical staff on March 11 and the little girl was diagnosed with an acute upper respiratory infection, according to the timeline. Over the next two weeks, Juarez brought Mariee back for treatment multiple times, with the little girl losing weight and suffering from high fevers, coughing, congestion, diarrhea and vomiting, according to the timeline…
…Juárez and her daughter passed the first step in their asylum claim and were released from ICE detention on March 25 and put in a plane to Juárez’s mother’s house, according to the timeline. Juárez took Mariee to the hospital the next day and the little girl remained hospitalized at different locations for six weeks before dying on May 10…
…[Benard] Dreyer,[a pediatrician and past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics] said Mariee’s records showed that when she hospitalized she had multilobar pneumonia, meaning the infection had spread to more than one lobe in her lungs.
“That did not happen in 24 hours,” he said…
November 27, 2018: NBC News posted an article titled: “Feds hit with $60 million claim over migrant infant who died after leaving detention center”. From the article:
The mother of a toddler who died weeks after being released from the nation’s largest family detention center filed a legal claim seeking $60 million from the U.S. government for the child’s death.
Attorneys for Yazmin Juárez submitted the claim against multiple agencies Tuesday. Juárez’s 1-year-old daughter, Mariee, died in May.
Juárez’s lawyers said Mariee developed a respiratory illness while she an her mother were detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas. They accused U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of releasing the pair while Mariee was still sick.
The girl died six weeks later in Philadelphia.
Washington-based law firm Arnold & Porter said it will file a lawsuit if the government doesn’t settle its claim. R. Stanton Jones, a lawyer at the firm, said the government has six months to respond before his firm can file suit…
July 31, 2019: PBS posted an article titled: “Private prison company sued in death of 1 year old migrant child”. From the article:
A woman whose 1-year-old daughter died weeks after they were released from an immigration detention center in Texas filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the private prison company that operates the facility.
Lawyers for Yazmin Juárez are demanding $40 million from CoreCivic in the complaint filed in federal court in San Antonio. It’s the third claim they have filed related to the death of Yazmin’s daughter, Mariee, in May last year.
The deaths of children detained by border agents have drawn national attention as have the conditions in border facilities where in some cases dozens of children have been held together at a time. Yazmin Juárez testified on July 10 before a U.S. House panel as photos of Mariee were displayed on television screens. Some lawmakers wiped away tears as she spoke.
CoreCivic operates the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement family detention center at Dilley, Texas, the largest facility of its kind. Juárez’s lawyers say CoreCivic allowed poor conditions to fester at the 2,400-bed facility…
…Mariee died in May 2018 after suffering a hemorrhage that led to irreversible brain and organ damage, six weeks after she and her mother were released from Dilley. Juárez contends that when they left Dilley, Mariee was dangerously sick and admitted to an emergency room one day later.
According to Juárez’s lawyers, Mariee started to have symptoms of a respiratory illness several days after they were taken to Dilley. As her condition worsened – with a fever that hit 104.2 degrees Fahrenheit (40.1 degrees Celsius), then coughing and vomiting – her lawyers allege Dilley medical staff didn’t properly treat her, then wrongly cleared her to travel…
…Juárez’s lawyers have already filed a claim against ICE and other U.S. government agencies demanding $60 million as a precursor to a lawsuit. They have also filed a $40 million lawsuit against Eloy, Arizona, the city that previously had an agreement with ICE to serve as a “pass-through” for funding to Core Civic.
October 10, 2018: Crosscut posted an article titled: “Asylum seeker at Tacoma jail goes 50 days without food.” It was written by Lilly Fowler. From the article:
…One such individual currently sits at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma – without food now for 50 days.
He is a man in his 30s from Buryatia, a Russian republic located in Siberia, just north of Mongolia, and known for its mountain ranges and punishing winters.
He arrived in the United States to seek asylum last December. He turned himself in at San Isidro, a border crossing that sits between Tijuana and San Diego, only to land in the Tacoma detention center a few weeks later. He is refusing to eat in protest of his detention and possible deportation. If forced to return home, he fears he would lose his life.
Sitting behind glass in a gray sweatshirt underneath a dark blue prison shirt on Sunday, the detainee looked gaunt and pale. He asked to remain anonymous for fear of persecution and retaliation from the Russian government though his act of defiance demands attention. He has been participating in a hunger strike for what was then 47 days – one of the longest anger strikes in the recent history of the Tacoma detention center.
…”The Court finds that there is sufficient cause to believe the without the requested medical testing and treatment” he is “in danger of irreparable injury, and possible death,” according to the court order.
The order specifies that medical staff at the detention center have permission to administer fluids intravenously and to perform certain laboratory tests that check for vital signs…
…According to inmates and Grace Meng, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch, GEO guards have taken liberties with the forced hydration order and even retaliated against the Buryatia native, as well as others who were recently on a hunger strike to protest conditions at the detention center…
…When he refused laboratory tests, such as urinalysis, “heavily armored people, with helmets and shields, came and surrounded him, and told him if he doesn’t resume eating voluntarily, they will force-feed him through a tube.” Meng said they then pointed to the court order as if it provided them with the authority to do so, despite the fact that the court order does not allow for force-feeding.
Attempting to determine whether the detainee had become suicidal, Meng asked, “Do you want to die?”
“It won’t be intentional, but that’s the whole point, it’s my protest,” she recalled him saying in response. “My goal is to deteriorate, to lose more weight, to get sick.”
“I will never go back,” the detainee told Meng. “What is waiting for me is jail. They already have accused me of treason. It’s punishable by firing squad… I would prefer to die on this soil than go back to Russia.”…
December 29, 2018: The Guardian posted an article titled: “The immigrants who have died in US custody in 2018”. It was written by Erin Durkin. From the article:
Mergensana Amar, a 40-year-old Russian national, died in November when he was removed from life support 11 days after trying to kill himself in his cell at the Northwest Detention Center. Amar tried to hang himself after being removed from a brief suicide watch that began when guards found a rope under his bed, according to the Washington Post. Amar had participated in a hunger strike; he died win the same month he was scheduled to be deported. “I would prefer to die on this soil rather than go back to Russia,” he told a Human Rights Watch researcher, according to a report on the news site Crosscut.
I put the piece of The Guardian article in here to show that the anonymous man in the Crosscut article is Mergensana Amar.
November 29, 2018: Seattle Times posted an article titled: “Medical examiner says Russian detainee in Tacoma died after suicide attempt, not from hunger strike”. It was written by Paul Roberts. From the article:
Mergensana Amar had been in ICE custody for almost a year, during which his asylum claim was denied by a court. He was scheduled for deportation this month.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the death of a Russian detainee Saturday was the result of an earlier suicide attempt, and wasn’t related to an extended hunger strike as claimed by an immigrant-rights group.
The cause of 40-year-old Mergensana Amar’s death was “anoxic encephalopathy,” or lack of oxygen to the brain, due to hanging, investigator Ryann Sale said Monday.
The medical examiner’s investigation results back up an account offered earlier Monday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)…
…Amar was taken to the hospital Nov. 15 after being found unconscious in his cell at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, ICE said. The agency’s medical staff had tried to resuscitate him again after calling 911. He was admitted to the intensive-care uint, where he remained on life support until Saturday, six days after his brain activity stopped.
Amar was pronounced dead at 6:05 p.m., Saturday, according to the medical examiner…
…Before Nov. 15, Amar was in “good physical health” and had been monitored daily by ICE medical staff, the agency said…
Jakelin Caal Maquin
December 14, 2018: The Guardian posted an article titled: “Guatemalan migrant girl, seven, dies in US border patrol custody”. It was written by Amanda Holpuch. From the article:
A seven-year-old girl who crossed a remote part of the US-Mexico border with her father last week died less than two days after being apprehended by the US border patrol in New Mexico, immigration officials have said.
The girl vomited and stopped breathing in the custody of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) before being transferred to a hospital, where she suffered brain swelling and cardiac arrest, according to CBP.
The CBP commissioner, Kevin McAleen, identified the girl as Jakelin Caal Maquin…
…The girl and her father, both from Guatemala, were traveling in a group of 163 people, including 50 children who were traveling without a parent, when they were apprehended around 9:15pm on 6 December…
…They were held in a small facility near the border before being transferred by bus to a border patrol station 95 miles away. At that facility, officials said, people had access to food, water and restrooms.
On the bus, just before 5am, the father told agents his child was sick and vomiting, then personnel at their destination were notified about the medical situation, officials said. Once they arrived, about an hour later, the father told agents that his child was not breathing. Emergency medical technicians revived her twice before she was taken by air ambulance to a children’s hospital in Texas.
Officials said later that morning Jakelin went into cardiac arrest, showed signs of brain swelling in a scan, was breathing by machine and had liver failure.
She died at 12:35am on Saturday with her father on the scene, officials said…
March 30, 2019: NPR posted an article titled: Autopsy for 7-Year-Old Migrant Who Died in U.S. Custody Shows She Died of Sepsis”. It was written by Shannon Van Sant. From the article:
An autopsy report has revealed that a 7-year-old girl who migrated to the United States from Guatemala died from a bacterial infection known as streptococcal sepsis while in custody of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Jakelin Caal Maquin had traveled to the U.S. with her father 2,000 miles from northern Guatemala. She died in December, two days after they were detained by border officials. By the time Jakelin was transported to a children’s hospital in El Paso, Texas, she was vomiting, having seizures and had difficulty breathing.
The medical examiner’s office in El Paso released its autopsy report on Friday showing that streptococcus bacteria was found in the girl’s lungs, adrenal gland, liver and spleen. The report says the infection led to the failure of multiple organs…
…According to The New York Times, several physicians who reviewed the autopsy report said Jakelin “would have been visibly sick for many hours.”
Felipe Alonzo Gomez
December 26, 2018: CBS News posted an article titled: “Timeline shows final days of Felipe Alonzo Gomez, the migrant boy who died in U.S. custody”. It was written by Camilo Montoya-Galvez. From the article:
For a second time in a month, a migrant child died in U.S. custody after being detained near the southern border by immigration authorities. Felipe Alonzo Gomez, an 8-year-old boy from Guatemala, died in a New Mexico hospital late on Christmas Eve…
…CBP released a timeline of the events it says ensued after Felipe and his father, Augstin Gomez, were detained near El Paso on Dec. 18. Before dying on Monday night, Felipe spent a week in America…
I’m going to summarize the timeline posted by CBS News. Between December 18, 2018, and December 23, 2018, Felipe and his father were transferred from El Paso to the Paso del Norte point of entry, then (two days later) to a Border Patrol station in El Paso.
On December 22, late at night, they were transferred to the Border Patrol station at Alamogordo, New Mexico. Felipe and his father arrived at that station early on December 23, 2018. On December 24, 2018, early in the morning, CPB filed a placement request for Felipe and his father to ICE’s family planning inbox.
Here’s what happened next:
Later in the morning at 9:00 a.m., a CBP agent noticed Felipe was coughing and appeared to have “glossy eyes.” Thirty minutes later, the Guatemalan boy was transferred to Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, alongside his father. Hospital staff conducted several strep throat tests on Felipe, but diagnosed him with a common cold and gave him Tylenol to treat pain and fever, CBP said.
Felipe remained in the hospital for further observation after he was found to have a 103 degree fever. he was released, however, late in the afternoon and prescribed antibiotics. CBP transported the 8-year-old and his father to a Border Patrol checkpoint on Highway 70, where agents gave them a hot meal and provided Felipe a dose of the prescribed medication.
During the evening, Felipe experienced nausea and vomiting. CBP said Felipe’s father declined further medical attention because his son was feeling better. Late at night, around 10:00 p.m., CBP said Felipe again appeared nauseous and “lethargic.” Because there was no EMT present, agents decided to transport Felipe and his father to the same hospital in Alamogordo.
On the ride to the hospital, Felipe vomited and lost consciousness. Felipe, his father, and a CBP agent arrived at the hospital a little after 11 p.m. CBP said hospital staff were unable to revive Felipe, who was pronounced dead at 11:48. p.m.
December 27, 2018: NBC News posted an article titled: “Guatemalan boy who died in U.S. custody had the flu, medical investigator says”. It was written by Daniella Silva. From the article:
The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator said Thursday that an 8-year-old boy who died in U.S. custody on Christmas Eve tested positive for influenza B.
The medical investigator’s office cautioned in a statement that the cause of death for Felipe Gómez Alonzo, who died minutes before midnight on Dec. 24, was still under investigation, but it was determined that he had been suffering from the flu.
“Results of nasals and lung swabs have tested positive for influenza B,” the office said. “While this result indicates that the child had influenza, determining an accurate cause of death requires further evaluation of other laboratory specimens and interpreting the findings in the context of the symptoms and autopsy findings.”
The announcement came as pediatricians were raising questions about the medical care given to Felipe, who was apprehended at the border Dec. 18 with his father…
April 4, 2019: ABC News posted an article titled: “Autopsies show deaths of children at border were caused by bacterial infections”. It was written by Anne Flaherty. From the article:
Bacterial infections were to blame for the deaths of two migrant children in U.S. custody last December, according to newly released autopsy reports…
…The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator said Felipe died of complications from the influenza B infection which damaged his lungs, “allowing a generalized infection.”
…[Julie] Linton [of the American Academy of Pediatrics], who has not reviewed the his autopsy report, said the signed of sepsis in a child can be easily missed by someone not trained to treat children. The dangers of bacterial infections and the flu in young children also underscores why AAP recommended two years ago that migrant children are kept in a child-friendly setting with an attentive caregiver and rapid access to medical treatment.
Linton said a concrete floor in a border facility wouldn’t count..
“Every hour of delayed treatment dramatically increases the chances of death of sepsis,” she said…
Mexican Man – Name Unreleased
February 18, 2019: CNN posted an article titled: Man dies in Border Patrol custody”. It was written by Geneva Sands. From the article:
A 45-year-old Mexican man who was taken into custody by border patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas earlier this month died Monday, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.
CBP says the man was detained on February 2, after crossing the border illegally. He initially asked for medical attention from the Roma Police Department. He was transported to the regional medical center and then cleared to travel to the Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station.
The next day, he again sought medical attention and was transferred to McAllen Medical Center in McAllen, Texas, where he died earlier today.
The man was initially diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and congestive heart failure, though the official cause of death is not known, according to CBP. He remained at McAllen Medical Center until his death.
CBP did not provide additional details such as the man’s name…
February 19, 2019: NBC News posted an article titled: “Detained Mexican migrant dies in Texas hospital”. From the article:
A Mexican man detained by Border Patrol for illegal re-entry died Monday at a hospital in Texas.
The 45-year-old man, who was not immediately identified, was initially apprehended Feb. 2 by police in the Texas border community of Roma and requested medical attention, U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Andrew Meehan said in a statement. He was taken to a medical center in McAllen and later cleared to return to the Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station.
The next day, he requested medical attention again and was taken to the hospital where he stayed until he died Monday.
Meehan said the official cause of death is not yet known, but the medical center diagnosed him with cirrhosis of the liver and congestive heart failure when he was admitted. The death is under investigation…
Honduran Woman in custody has stillborn baby
February 25, 2019: NBC News posted an article titled: “Honduran woman in immigration custody gives birth to premature, stillborn baby”. It was written by Daniella Silva. From the article:
A Honduran woman delivered a stillborn baby boy at an immigration detention center in Texas after going into premature labor last week, authorities said.
The woman, 24, was about six months pregnant when she was apprehended by Border Patrol early Feb. 18 near Hidalgo, Texas, according to a joint statement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection. Both agencies are a part of the Department of Homeland Security…
…On Tuesday, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus called for an investigation into the incident…
…While the woman was in Border Patrol Custody, she was taken to a hospital and cleared for release on Thursday after receiving two medical screenings, according to the statement. She was then transferred to ICE custody at the Port Isabel Detention Center on Friday afternoon to be processed for release, the statement said.
That night, the woman “began complaining of abdominal discomfort” and was examined by ICE’s Health Service Corps, according to the statement. A clinical director was called and ordered that the woman be sent to a hospital and Emergency Medical Services wee called, according to the statement.
“At that time, she conveyed that the baby was coming,” the statement said. “She went into premature labor, at 27 weeks pregnant, and delivered an unresponsive male infant.”
They were taken to a local hospital where the baby was pronounced dead, the statement said. The woman remains in ICE custody pending medical clearance, according to the statement.
Rene Pablo Perez Gordillo
March 30, 2019: HuffPost posted an article titled: Migrant Dies In Border Patrol Custody, The Fourth Death In 4 Months”. It was written by Nina Golgowski. From the article:
Authorities said a 40-year-old Mexican man died in U.S. Border Patrol custody at a Texas hospital on Monday, making it the fourth death in as many months.
The man was treated at the Las Palmas Medical Center in El Paso after medical staff diagnosed him with flu-like symptoms, liver failure, and renal failure. He died later that day, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.
Telemundo has identified the man as Rene Pablo Perez Gordillo of Maltrata, Veracruz, citing the Consulate General of Mexico.
According to the CBP, the migrant had twice crossed the border illegally just 24 hours earlier. During his second detainment, medical professional at the Border Patrol’s processing facility evaluated him near El Paso’s Paso Del Norte Point of Entry and then transported him to the medical center…
NOTE: This man is not the 45-year-old Mexican migrant in Border Patrol custody who died at another Texas hospital after staff diagnosed him with cirrhosis of the liver and congestive health failure.
April 5, 2019: Arizona Central posted an article titled: “Fourth person in six months dies in ICE immigration detention center.” It was written by Rebekah L. Sanders. From the article:
A 54-year-old Mexican man held in a detention center by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement died Wednesday after showing signs of the flu, the federal agency said.
Abel Reyes-Clemente is the fourth person to die in ICE custody since Oct. 1, officials said. Two children held by the Border Patrol began vomiting and died in December. Lawsuits have alleged poor hygiene and medical care at detention centers…
…Reyes-Clemente was detained at a Florence immigration center on Feb. 26 after serving time at a Maricopa County jail for a misdemeanor conviction of driving under the influence, officials said. He had been deported five times before, most recently in 2008, the agency said.
Reyes-Clemente became sick and was “placed into medical observation” on April 1, ICE said. Two days later, facility personnel found him around 6 a.m., unresponsive and not breathing.
Medical staffers at the detention center and local paramedics who responded failed to revive Reyes-Clemente, the agency said. Doctors at Mountain Vista Medical Center declared him dead at 6:33 a.m…
…An autopsy to determine the cause of death is pending.
June 9, 2019: NBC News posted an article titled: “24 immigrants have died in ICE custody during the Trump administration”. It was written by Hannah Rappleye and Lisa Riordan Seville. From the article:
…When 54-year-old Abel Reyes-Clemente died in a cell in Arizona in early April, an ICE press release pointed to complications from the flu. But the Pinal County Medical Examiner found he died from complications from cirrhosis, diabetes, and heart disease, also noting he had tested positive for bacterial pneumonia…
Juan de Léon Gutiérrez
May 1, 2019: BuzzFeed News posted an article titled: “A 16-Year-Old Unaccompanied Immigrant Boy Has Died In US Government Custody”. It was written by Hamed Aleaziz and Adolfo Flores. The article was updated on May 3, 2019. From the article:
A 16-year-old unaccompanied Guatemalan boy died in government custody in Texas on Tuesday, officials said.
Juan de Léon Gutiérrez is the third child to die in government custody since December, when a 7-year-old girl died hours after being taken into Border Patrol custody…
…The government contracts with private and nonprofit shelters to hold unaccompanied migrant children until a family member can pick them up. In this case, on April 20, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials brought Gutiérrez to the ORR shelter in Brownsville, Texas, Southwest Key Casa Padre. The migrant youth shelter, run out of a former Walmart, houses about 1,200 boys and girls.
US Customs and Border Protection clinicians did not notice any health concerns and Gutiérrez did not mention any when brought to the shelter, said Evelyn Stauffer, a Health and Human Services spokesperson. The next morning, however, Guitérrez became “noticeably ill,” including having a fever, chills and a headache, she added.
Workers at Southwest Key Casa Padre brought Gutiérrez to a hospital that morning on April 21, where he was treated and released that day and brought back to the shelter, Stauffer said.
“The minor’s health did not improve after being transferred back to the shelter so on the morning of April 22, 2019, the minor was taken to another hospital emergency department via ambulance,” she said. “Later that day, the minor was transferred to a children’s hospital in Texas and was treated for several days in the hospital’s intensive care unit. Following several days of intensive care, the minor passed away at the hospital on April 30, 2019.”
The cause of death has yet to be determined as the ORR investigates the case. A person with knowledge of the 16-year-old’s case said Guitérrez made the journey, at least in part, because he wanted to seek medical treatment related to headaches. The unaccompanied minor was sent to the hospital after going through an initial screening at Casa Padre.
The Guatemalan consulate said Guitérrez was admitted with a severe infection in his frontal lobe at a children’s hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. After a surgery to stabilize the pressure in his head, the minor was put in intensive care before he died April 30…
May 9, 2019: Yahoo! News posted an article titled: “US won’t answer new questions about migrant teen’s death”. It was written by Nomaan Merchant and Sonia Pérez D. From the article:
Juan De Léon Gutiérrez told his mother he was calling from warehouse in Mexico, hidden by a human smuggler who had been paid to take the teenager to the United States.
“He told me he had something of a headache, perhaps because he was hungry and had not been able to sleep,” said his mother, Tránsito Guitérrez de Léon.
The 16-year-old died on April 30 after officials at a Texas rough detention facility noticed he was sick, becoming the third Guatemalan child to die in U.S. custody since December…
…Almost a week after the teenagers’s death, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has not said why he was first taken to the hospital and released, only to return one day later. Evelyn Stauffer, an HHS spokeswoman, declined to provide more information Wednesday.
Juan had a rare condition known as Pott’s puffy tumor, according to the Nueces County medical examiner in Corpus Christi, citing information from a children’s hospital in Corpus Christi, where he was in intensive care for several days before his death.
Despite the name, the condition is not the same as a cancerous tumor. The name refers to the swelling that occurs on a patient’s forehead caused by an infection in the frontal bone. The condition is rare, and while usually treatable with antibiotics, it can require surgery…
…Dr. Mobeen Rathore, a pediatrician based in Jacksonville, Florida, and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, said Juan’s death was further evidence that detaining immigrant children was a health risk under any circumstances.
“If a child was in a home and not in a detention center with 1,400 kids… there would be more attention paid to this, whether by a parent of a guardian or whoever,” Rathore said…
July 24, 2019: Texas Monthly posted an article titled: “Autopsy Offers Jarring New Details About the Death of a 16-Year-Old Guatemalan Boy”. It was written by Robert Moore. From the article:
…Juan DeLeon Gutierrez, 16, died April 30 in Corpus Christi. He crossed the border in the El Paso area April 19 without parents or guardian. He fell ill at an Office of Refugee Resettlement shelter in Brownsville and was treated for several days at a Corpus Christi hospital before he died. The Nieces County medical examiner said no autopsy was preformed because Guiterrez was not in custody at the time of his death and died of natural causes…
May 6, 2019: Tucson Sentinel posted an article titled: “Indian national dies in ICE custody after posting bond with La Paz County Sheriff”. It was written by Paul Ingram. From the article:
An Indian man being held in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a county jail, died at a hospital in Parker, Ariz., on Friday morning.
Simratpal Singh, 21, was found “unresponsive and not breathing,” by personnel with the La Paz County Sherriff’s Office in Parker, Ariz., about 230 miles northwest of Tuscon.
Singh had been charged with assault and sexual assault, and he had posted bond, however, rather than being released, he was transferred to ICE custody, officials said. While waiting for a transfer to an immigration facility on Thursday, Singh was found by jail staff, who called local paramedics…
…An autopsy is pending to determine the cause of death, officials said…
…The Indian consulate has been advised of Singh’s death, ICE said.
May 7, 2019: Voice Of America posted an article titled: “Indian Man Dies in US Immigration Custody”. It was written by Victoria Macchi. From the article:
An Indian man in U.S. immigration custody died in an Arizona jail last week, federal officials announced late Monday.
Simratpal Singh, 21, was found unresponsive on May 2, at La Paz (Arizona) County Jail, where he was awaiting transfer to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility, the agency said in a statement.
Medics transported him by ambulance to a local hospital, then by helicopter to a second facility, where personnel declared him dead shortly before 2 a.m. on May 3…
…An autopsy is pending to determine the official cause of death, according to ICE.
Singh is the fifth detainee to die in ICE custody in fiscal year 2019. The agency sees about 10 deaths in its custody every year…
…The medical treatment of people held by ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection is under heightened scrutiny as the Trump administration continues a series of policy decisions designed to limit immigration while responding to an increased number of families arriving at the southwest border.
Immigrant advocates question the speed and quality of care that those in custody are receiving…
May 10, 2019: Arizona Central posted an article titled: “Medical examiner: Indian national died by suicide in Arizona jail while in ICE custody”. It was written by Daniel Gonzalez. From the article:
The Indian national who died in an Arizona jail while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement died by suicide by hanging himself, according to the Maricopa County medical examiner…
…The Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner listed suicide as the manner of death and hanging as the primary cause of death on its website. Autopsy results have not yet been released…
Wilmer Josué Ramírez Vásquez
May 16, 2019: HuffPost posted an article titled: “Guatemalan Toddler Apprehended At U.S. Border Dies in Hospital”. It was written by Nina Golgowski. From the article:
A Guatemalan toddler apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border has died after several weeks in a Texas hospital – the fourth death of a migrant child since December.
The 2 1/2-year-old boy died on Tuesday night in El Paso, Texas, The Washington Post first reported.
The Guatemalan Consulate in Houston later confirmed the boy’s death in a release, stating that he is believed to have died from complications from pneumonia.
The boy, whose identity wasn’t revealed by authorities, was apprehended with his mother on April 3, near the Paso Del Norte Bridge, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official told HuffPost in an email. That bridge spans the Rio Grande, connecting El Paso with the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez.
The day after their capture, the boy’s mother reported him as sick, authorities said. He was transported to a hospital in Horizon City, and later to a children’s hospital in El Paso. His mother was released from custody on April 8, CBP said.
“At that point, the family was no longer in [Border Patrol] custody,” CBP said…
…The boy is at least the sixth migrant to die after crossing the border since December. Four of those deaths were children, all from Guatemala, which is gripped by a hunger crisis…
May 21, 2019: BuzzFeed News posted an article titled: “A 2-Year-Old Boy Detained At The Border Had Died After Weeks In The Hospital”. It was written by Adolfo Flores. From the article:
A 2-year-old boy from Guatemala who was detained by US agents at the border died Tuesday night after being hospitalized for weeks in Texas, Guatemalan Consulate officials said.
Wilmer Josué Ramírez Vásquez is the fourth Guatemalan child to die after being apprehended at the US-Mexico border since December. The death, first reported by the Washington Post, comes amid a growing number of migrants, many of them Central American parents with children, who are presenting themselves at the border to request asylum…
…Guatemalan General Consul Tekandi Paniagua told BuzzFeed News that Ramírez was hospitalized for about a month and appeared to have pneumonia. US Customs and Border Protection officials did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment.
A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official familiar with the case told BuzzFeed News that the mother and child were apprehended by Border Patrol agents April 3 near the Paso del Norte International Bridge that links Cuidad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso Texas.
On April 6, the mother told agents that Ramírez was sick and was taken to the Providence at Horizon hospital, in Horizon City, Texas. The next day, he was transferred via ambulance to Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso, Texas.
The family was given a notice to appear in immigration court on April 8 and released on their own reconnaissance at the El Paso hospital. At that point, the family was no longer in Border Patrol custody, the official said…
… The bridge was the site of a temporary detention facility in March where Border Patrol detained migrants outdoors behind a chain-link fence topped with razor wire. Families held there said they experienced cold and windy nights sleeping on gravel. Other makeshift sites operated by Border Patrol have continued to spring up to contend with the surge of migrants at the border…
July 24, 2019: Texas Monthly posted an article titled: “Autopsy Offers Jarring New Details About the Death of a 16-Year-Old Guatemalan Boy”. It was written by Robert Moore. From the article:
…Wilmer Josue Ramierz Vasquez, 2 1/2, died May 14 after several weeks in an El Paso hospital. He crossed with his mother in El Paso on April 3. Wilmer died of “multiple intestinal and respiratory infectious diseases,” including influenza A, according to an autopsy report.
Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez
May 20, 2019: The Texas Tribune posted an article titled: “Guatemalan migrant dies after being apprehended at the Texas-Mexico border”. It was written by Julián Aguliar. From the article:
A Central American migrant has died while in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley, the agency said in an news release Monday.
The Guatemalan teenager, who hasn’t been identified, was processed by agents May 13 and was set to be transferred to the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees the treatment of immigrant minors in federal custody. He was found unresponsive Monday morning at the Border Patrol station in Weslaco…
…A cause of death is unknown, CBP added. The agency said its inspector general, members of Congress and the Guatemalan government have been notified of the teenager’s death…
May 20, 2019: NBC News posted an article titled: “16-year-old migrant boy dies in U.S. custody, 5th child to die since December”. It was written by Daniella Silva. From the article:
A 16-year-old Guatemalan boy who died Monday in immigration custody in south Texas was diagnosed with the flu a day before, a Customs and Border Protection official said. The teenager is the fifth migrant child to die in U.S. custody since December.
Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez was found unresponsive Monday morning during a welfare check at Weslaco Border Patrol Station, a CBP official familiar with the case said in a Monday afternoon teleconference.
He had been transferred to the station Sunday from the Rio Grande Valley Sector’s Central Processing Center, the official said.
Early Sunday, Carlos told staff at the processing center that he was not feeling well and a nurse practitioner assessed him and determined he had influenza A, the official said. Carlos was prescribed the medicine Tamiflu for treatment, which Border Patrol agents picked up from a local pharmacy, the official said.
The official said Carlos continued to receive care at the processing through the day and was transferred midday to the Weslaco station, where he was to be segregated from much of the other migrant population due to his illness. At the station, he was again medically assessed and his medications was turned over to the medical professionals there, the official said.
The next morning, Carlos was found unresponsive in one of the station’s short-term holding rooms about an hour after his previous welfare check, the official said. Medical staff were unable to treat him or save his life, the official said. He had been in the border patrol station for about 17-18 hours at the time.
When asked why the boy was not taken to a hospital for treatment, the official said such a decision was up to the medical care providers at their facilities. The official added that he while they did not have the individual specifics on the symptoms, Carlos was exhibiting at the time, the official suspected it was one of the matters that would be reviewed in the investigation…
May 22, 2019: Houston Chronicle posted an article titled: “Texas migrant detention center quarantined amid flu outbreak after 16-year-old dies.” It was written by Meagan Flynn. From the article:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has stopped taking detainees at its main processing center in McAllen, Texas, after identifying “a large number” of migrants suffering from flu like symptoms, the agency announced late Tuesday. The move comes one day after a teenage migrant who had been held at the facility died after being diagnosed with the flu…
…Medical staff as the center identified migrants in custody with high fevers and exhibiting “signs of a flu-related illness,” and they are now receiving medical treatment, CBP said.
A spokesman in the Rio Grande Valley Sector did not say how many migrants were affected by the illness. The McAllen processing center, a crowded warehouselike building where detainees are being held behind fencing and sleep on mats, is among the busiest facilities along the southern border…
July 24, 2019: Texas Monthly posted an article titled: “Autopsy Offers Jarring New Details About the Death of a 16-Year-Old Guatemalan Boy”. It was written by Robert Moore. From the article:
After a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy died in Border Patrol custody in May, officials gave a basic account of what happened. Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez crossed the border alone near Weslaco on May 13, and was then held at a processing center for unaccompanied minors in nearby McAllen for six days until falling ill on May 19. That day, a nurse practitioner found that he had a 103-degree fever, and he tested positive for the flu. He was prescribed Tamiflu and transferred to the Border Patrol station at Weslaco. Hernandez died the next morning.
Now an autopsy report obtained by Texas Monthly provides new details about the death of Hernandez, the fifth Guatemalan child to die since December after being taken into Border Patrol custody. Conducted by Dr. Norma Jean Farley, a contract forensic pathologist for Hidalgo County, the autopsy concludes that Hernandez succumbed to the flu, complicated by pneumonia and sepsis, on or near the toilet of his South Texas Border Patrol cell.
He was fed a 2 a.m., May 20, and agents reportedly checked on him every hour, according to the autopsy. But some time later, in a video that Farley apparently reviewed, Hernandez “is seen lying on the floor, vomiting on the floor, and walks over to the commode, where he sits and later lies back and expires.”
The exact time of Hernandez’s collapse isn’t known because, as the report notes without explanation, “the time on the video is incorrect.” Regardless, the boy was found at 6 a.m. that same morning, and declared dead twelve minutes later.
The circumstances of Hernandez’s death strengthen the criticism of Border Patrol’s handling of sick children. The agency is required to transfer unaccompanied children to the Office of Refugee Resettlement within 72 hours, but officials have acknowledged repeatedly failing to meet that requirement this year, including in Hernandez’s case. Hernandez was also never taken to a hospital despite the apparent seriousness of his illness and the fact that the flu has claimed the lives of two other Guatemalan children in Border Patrol custody in the last six months…
Darlyn Cristabel Cordova-Valle
May 24, 2019: Refinery 29 posted an article titled: “The 10-Year-Old Migrant Girl Who Died in U.S. Custody Has Been Identified”. It was written by Andrea González-Ramriez. From the article:
The 10-year-old migrant girl from El Salvador who died in federal custody last September has been identified as Daryln Valle. According to CBS News, Darlyn planned to make the journey from El Salvador to Omaha, NE, to reunite with her mother. But she was apprehended by Border Patrol halfway through, in Texas, in March 2018.
Darlyn, who had a history of congenital heart defects, was placed in an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) facility in Texas. She underwent a surgical procedure and complications left her in a coma, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spokesperson Mark Weber. (HHS oversees ORR). Daryln was only brought to Omaha three days before her death, so she could spend her final moments with her mother. She passed due to fever and respiratory distress.
Her death was only disclosed to the public this week. Darlyn is one of six migrant children, all from Central America, who have died after being detained by the U.S. government over the past eight months. Before this period, no migrant child had died while in federal custody since 2010…
May 26, 2019:FOX 43 posted an article titled: “Mother of 10-year-old who died in US custody says her daughter was born with a heart murmur.” From the article
…The girl’s mother, who asked not to reveal her identity, said her daughter was born with a heart murmur. Doctors told her the girl would need surgery later…
…Darlyn died in September of last year, but her death was not announced until Thursday. Hers is one of six recent deaths of migrant children while in custody of federal authorities after journeying to the US…
…The girl traveled with acquaintances by car for four days from El Salvador to the border, her mother said.
According to a CBP official, Daryln was encountered by Border Patrol on March 1, 2018, about nine miles west of Hidalgo, Texas. The next morning, Darlyn received a welfare check and a meal. When she complained about chest pains she was sent to the hospital. She was transferred to HHS custody on March 4.
According to HHS spokesperson Mark Weber, Darlyn was in a medically fragile state and was transported to various facilities for treatment, including in San Antonio, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona.
He said the child had surgery complications that had left her in a comatose state. She was transported to a nursing facility in Phoenix and later transported to Children’s Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, where she died due to fever and respiratory distress on September 29, according to Weber…
Johana Medina León
June 3, 2019: NBC News posted an article titled: “Transgender asylum-seeker dies after six weeks in ICE custody”. It was written by Ben Kesslen. From the article:
A transgender woman from El Salvador seeking asylum in the United States died Saturday in a Texas hospital four days after being released from custody, officials and advocates said.
Johana Medina Leon, 25, complained of chest pains and was brought to Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said. That same day, ICE said she was processed for release on parole. Leon died on the first day of pride month…
…Leon, who was known to friends as Joe, had been detained in the U.S. since mid-April. On May 18, she received a positive credible fear finding, ICE said. Advocates told NBC News that she was seeking asylum in the U.S. as a transgender woman.
Leon was being held at Otero County Processing Center, a private detention center in New Mexico where the ACLU and the Santa Fe Dreamer Project recently alleged poor treatment and of “unconscionable conditions” for LGBTQ immigrants. In a letter sent to Ice, the groups said “ICE practices at Otero have created an unsafe environment” for the LGBTQ detainees there.
Leon fell ill while in ICE custody, when she also tested positive for HIV…
June 9, 2019: NBC News posted an article titled: “24 immigrants have died in ICE custody during the Trump administration”. It was written by Hannah Rappleye and Lisi Riordan Seville. From the article:
…The cause of death for Medina Leon, the asylum seeker who died on June 1, remains unclear.
Like Roxsana Hernandez, a transgender woman who died in ICE custody last summer, Medina Leon was diagnosed with HIV while she was detained…
…ICE sent Medina Leon to the hospital. The same day she went to the hospital, ICE paroled her, meaning released her from custody. As a result, the agency is not required to issue a press release about her death, nor conduct a death review. The El Paso Medical Examiner told NBC News that it will not conduct an autopsy, which is required for all in-custody deaths.
June 12, 2019: The Guardian posted an article titled: “Trans woman who died after illness in US Custody had asked to be deported, family says”. It was written by Sam Levin. From the article:
A transgender woman who died after becoming sick in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) custody asked to be deported after she was repeatedly denied medical care, attorneys said on Wednesday.
The family of Johana Medina León, a 25-year-old asylum seeker from El Salvador who died this month, filed a civil rights claim against the US government this week, alleging that officials ignored her numerous requests for treatment as her health “rapidly deteriorated”.
Medina León, who worked as a nurse in El Salvador, recognized that she needed IV fluids, but was denied. When she asked for water, sugar and salt so she could make her own IV, Ice also refused, the claim said. The treatment in Ice custody was so bad that Medina León, who was fleeing violence in her home country, requested to be deported so she could get medical attention, lawyers said. That request was also denied…
…Christopher Dolan, an attorney who filed the claim, added: “She was desperate, because the government would not provider her with assistance of any kind for her medical needs.”
The death of Medina León, who was detained for more than a month despite following official procedures for seeking asylum and passing her first interview, comes at a time of escalating concerns about human rights violations in US immigration facilities. Queer and trans migrants are particularly vulnerable, suffering disproportionate rates of physical and sexual abuse behind bars and often being forced into solitary confinement…
…Medina León was threatened with physical violence because she is a trans woman and fled El Salvador in December 2018, lawyers said. She was granted a humanitarian visa in Mexico and then presented herself to US authorities to request asylum…
…She was subsequently detained in El Paso, Texas, in April and transferred to the Otero county processing center in New Mexico. Like other trans women at the privately run detention center, she was housed with men.
On 18 May, authorities determined she had “credible fear” of persecution if forced to return o El Salvador, but Ice continued to detain her. She eventually became unconscious and was taken to a Texas hospital, her attorneys said. That same day, she was released on parole.
Dolan, a San Francisco-based lawyer, accused Ice of finally releasing her when she became seriously ill in an effort to “absolve themselves of responsibility”…
On 1 June, [her family] learned she had died of pneumonia…
Óscar Alberto Martínez and his daughter Valeria
June 26, 2019: NBC News posted an article titled: “Family of Salvadoran migrant dad, child who drowned say he ‘loved his daughter so much’. It was written by Daniella Silva. From the article:
The mother of a Salvadoran migrant who drowned alongside his 23-month-old daughter while trying to cross into the United States said the man “loved his daughter so much” and was seeking a better life for his family.
Óscar Alberto Martínez and his daughter Valeria died while trying to cross the Rio Grande on Sunday, their deaths captured by a horrific and haunting image that sparked outrage.
The father and daughter lie face down on the water on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, Valeria tucked inside her father’s short with her tiny arm wrapped around his neck…
…Estela Avalos, Tania’s mother, said her daughter also almost drowned but a friend was able to rescue her…
…The family had become frustrated and desperate after waiting two months in Mexico, unable to present themselves to U.S. authorities to request asylum, according to reporting by Julia Le Duc, who photographed the death of the father and daughter, for Mexican newspaper La Jornada…
…Immigration lawyers and rights advocates say asylum-seekers have been increasingly trying to cross the border illegally because of policies by the Trump administration, such as “metering,” or restricting the number of migrants who can be processed at a legal port of entry. The administration has also been ramping up its policy of forcing asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico as their cases play out after presenting themselves at a port of entry to seek asylum…
I put this article into this blog even though this family was not being held by Border Patrol or ICE. Instead, they were stuck in Mexico for an indeterminate amount of time, until the Trump Administration would deal with their asylum claim.
This father and daughter did not die due to lack of medical care. They died from neglect and a harmful, indeterminate, waiting period imposed on people who have a legal asylum claim.
Yimi Alexis Balderramos-Torres
June 1, 2019: BuzzFeed News posted an article titled: “A 30-Year-Old Father Died After Being Detained For Weeks By ICE”. It was written by Hamed Aleaziz. From the article:
A 30-year-old Honduran man who had previously been forced wait in Mexico while his asylum case was processed in the US died Sunday, weeks after being taken into federal immigration custody, officials said.
The death of Yimi Alexis Balderramos-Torres, first reported by BuzzFeed News on Monday morning, is the sixth in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody since October. Hours after the report, congressional staffers were informed by ICE officials of the man’s death. Six hours after the initial BuzzFeed News report, ICE officials confirmed the death in a press release.
Baldeáramos-Torres had previously been apprehended by immigration officials in El Paso, Texas, on May 17, according to a statement released by ICE. The man was accompanied by his son when he was encountered by Border Patrol on May 17, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
Baldeáramos-Torres had been sent back to Mexico under a Trump administration program that requires Central American immigrants to wait outside the US as their asylum cases make their way through the immigration courts. More than 15,000 individuals have been sent back to Mexico through the program, according to statistics released by the Mexican government…
…On May 27, Balderramos-Torres again crossed the border without authorization and was picked up by local police in the US during a traffic stop. He was placed in ICE custody on June 6, according to the authorities. Because he had previously been arrested by Border Patrol and deported in 2013, ICE officials “reinstated” his previous deportation order and kept him in custody pending his future removal to Honduras, they said.
Nearly two weeks later, on June 18, he was transferred to the Houston Contract Detention Facility in Houston.
On June 30, Balderramos-Torres was found “unresponsive,” and medical officials at the facility were unable to revive him. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead Sunday morning. A cause of death is pending as officials conduct an autopsy…
Unnamed El Salvadoran Man
June 3, 2019: KVEO.com posted an article titled: “Salvadorian Man Dies in Border Patrol Custody”. It was written by Marlane Rodriguez. From the article:
U.S Customs and Border Protection released the following statement:
According to initial reports, U.S. Border Patrol agents from Rio Grande Valley Sector apprehended a man near the border in Roma, Texas, at 12:10 p.m., CDT. Shortly after taking him into custody, agents called Emergency Medical Services after they observed signs that the man was suffering from an apparent seizure at 12:22 p.m. An EMT-certified Border Patrol Agent quickly initiated medical care until EMS arrived at 12:29 p.m. EMS continued emergency care and transported him to a local hospital at 12:45 p.m. Despite all efforts to save the 33-year-old man’s life, hospital authorities pronounced him deceased. At this time, CBP is not releasing the identity of the individual until confirmation that the man’s loved ones have been notified….
…The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General and the Government of El Salvador have been notified…
Guatemalan Teen Mother and Prematurely Born Baby
These two did not die while in Border Patrol custody, but likely would have if human rights attorneys had not visited the facility.
June 13, 2019: (and updated June 20, 2019): HuffPost posted an article titled: “Teen Mom and Prematurely Born Baby Neglected At Border Patrol Facility for 7 Days”. It was written by Angelina Chapin. From the article:
A prematurely born infant and her 17-year-old mother spent seven days being almost entirely neglected in Border Patrol custody, according to lawyers who visited an immigrant processing station in McAllen, Texas, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The baby, barely a month old, was wrapped in a dirty towel, wore a soiled onesie and looked listless, said one of the lawyers, Hope Frye. The mother was in a wheelchair due to complications from her emergency C-section and had barely slept – the pain made it too uncomfortable for her to lie down and she was afraid of dropping her baby, the immigration and human rights attorney said…
…The mother, according to Frye, said she had been taken to the hospital at least once to receive pain medication, but the baby had received no medical attention since being in Border Control custody. The child was born in Mexico just after her teenage mother left Guatemala for the U.S. when she was eight months pregnant…
…Frye said one of her colleagues, an immigrant rights advocate, told her on Wednesday that the baby had not cried for five hours and had become “weak and listless.” The advocate, according to Frye, said that since the infant was wrapped only in a towel she was concerned her body temperature was dropping, which can be fatal…
…Frye said that she and her team worked Tuesday and Wednesday to try to get the new mother and her child released from Border Patrol custody. After alerting government officials and medical officers, they also called 911 and the local Child Protective Services office, both of which said they didn’t have jurisdiction over the federal facility, according to Frye…
…The lawyers later on Thursday confirmed to HuffPost that the family had been transferred to a resettlement facility…
Four Severely Ill Toddlers Hospitalized
Four toddlers in a Border Patrol facility were found to be extremely ill, and likely would have died if a group of lawyers had not visited the facility.
June 21, 2019 (updated June 22, 2019): HuffPost posted an article titled: “4 Severely Ill Migrant Toddlers Hospitalized After Lawyers Visit Border Patrol Facility”. It was written by Angelina Chapin. From the article:
Four toddlers were so severely ill and neglected at a U.S. Border Patrol facility in McAllen, Texas, that lawyers forced the government to hospitalize them last week.
The children, all under age 3 with teenage mothers or guardians, were feverish, coughing, vomiting, and had diarrhea, immigration attorneys told HuffPost on Friday. Some fo the toddlers and infants were refusing to eat or drink. One 2-year-old’s eyes were rolled back in her head, and she was “completely unresponsive” and limp, according to Toby Gialluca, a Florida-based attorney…
…Another mother at the same facility had a premature baby who was “listless” and wrapped in a dirty towel, as HuffPost previously reported.
The lawyers feared that if they had not shown up at the facility, the sick kids would have received zero medical attention and potentially died. The Trump administration has come under fire for its treatment – and its alleged neglect – of migrants who have been crossing the southern border in record numbers. The result is overcrowded facilities, slow medical care and in some instances, deaths.
…Children and their parents told lawyers that in some cases they didn’t have any access to medical treatment in Border Patrol facilities despite being visibly ill. Gialluca spoke with one 16-year-old mother whose toddler had the flu, but was told by a a guard the child “wasn’t sick enough to see a doctor.” She said others also reported being denied medical attention despite having critically sick babies…
…Gialluca met one 16-year-old mother whose 8-month old baby was sick with the flu and forced to sleep outside for four days at the McAllen Border Patrol station. The mother said the guards took the clothing off the baby’s back, leaving her in a diaper, and forced them to sleep on concrete without a blanket.
A sick 2-year-old girl was shivering in a T-shirt and had shallow breathing, according to Mike Fassio, a Seattle-based immigration attorney who visited Ursula. [Ursula is a Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, Texas.)
…Some children were so exhausted they fell asleep during the interviews, said Clara Long, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch who spoke with kids at a facility in Clint, Texas. Long met a 3-year-okd boy who was dirty with matted hair and was being taken care of by his 11-year-old brother. She said that more than 10 sick children were being quarantined in cells.
While the group of roughly eight lawyers and interpreters at Ursula were supposed to be interviewing children about conditions in the facilities, they also ended up asking guards and government officials to bring kids to the hospital because they were so worried about their state…
June 24, 2019: The New York Times posted an article titled: “Hundreds of Migrant Children are Moved Out of an Overcrowded Border Station”. It was written by Caitlin Dickerson. From the article:
…Hundreds of migrant children have been transferred out of a filthy Border Patrol station in Texas where they had been detained for weeks without access to soap, clean clothes or adequate food, the authorities confirmed on Monday, suggesting that worsening conditions and overcrowding inside federal border facilities may have reached a breaking point.
The move came days after a group of lawyers was given access to the station in Cling, Tex., about 20 miles southeast of El Paso, and said they saw children as young as 8 caring for infants, toddlers with no diapers, and children who said they were waking up at night because they were hungry…
The visit by lawyers to the Clint facility on June 17 was allowed as a result of a judge’s orders in a long-running court case concerning the conditions under which migrant children are held in government facilities. After they arrived and observed what was happening, the lawyers, including representatives of some of the nation’s most prominent law schools, immediately began lobbying for the children to be released.
Some 249 of the children were transferred into a shelter system maintained by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, according to Ms. Stauffer; an unknown number of others were sent to a temporary tent facility in El Paso, according to Elizabeth Lopez-Sandoval, a spokeswoman for Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, Democrat of Texas, who began looking into the overcrowded facility in Clint last week after reports about the conditions there…
…The Border Patrol was routing children to Clint because the agency had been facing an unusually large influx of border crossers. The infants there had either been separated from adult family members with whom they had crossed the border or were the children of teenage mothers who had also been detained there. Some of the minors had been held there for nearly a month…
…Ms. Lopez-Sandoval said that only 30 children remain in Clint. The Border Patrol station there was meant to be temporary; children are supposed to be transferred out after 72 hours. But many had been languishing there because the Department of Health and Human Service’s shelters were full…
Unnamed El Salvadoran man with daughter
June 30, 2019: CBS News posted an article titled: “El Salvador man dies in U.S. border custody”. From the article:
A 43-year-old El Salvadoran man who crossed into the U.S. with his daughter collapsed at a border station and later died at a hospital, officials said Saturday. The man had been held about a week at the Rio Grande Valley Central processing center in McAllen, Texas, according to a law enforcement official.
The official said the man, who had health issues, had been medically checked.
The daughter was still in U.S. Border Patrol custody, but officials requested an expedited transfer to a shelter run by the agency that manages children who cross the border alone, an official told The Associated Press. The official did not know the daughter’s age.
The child will be in a shelter until she is released to a sponsor, but that process could take weeks.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a statement to CBS News acknowledging the man’s death, saying the agency was “saddened by the unfortunate death of a 43-year-old man from El Salvador who was rushed to the hospital after falling into medical distress.”…
…The facility where the man was being held, like most other Border Patrol stations along the U.S.-Mexico border, is overcrowded. Border station are generally at capacity with about 4,000 people and more than 15,000 are in custody. Advocates and attorneys have decried fetid, filthy conditions inside the stations that were not meant as more than a temporary holding station…
Unknown Migrant Woman with Two Infants and a Toddler
June 24, 2019: The New York Times posted an article titled: “Three Children and a Woman Are Found Dead Along the Border in Texas”. It was written by Mitchell Ferman and Manny Fernandez. From the article:
The bodies of what appeared to be a migrant woman in her 20s and three children – two infants and a toddler – were found Sunday night near the edge of the Rio Grande outside the South Texas city of McAllen, the authorities said.
Migrant deaths happen with grim regularity along parts of America’s southwestern border, largely when adults and unaccompanied teenagers succumb to harsh desert conditions or a lack of water, and die of hypothermia. The discovery on Sunday was unusual – it is rare for officials to discover dead migrant children on the American side of the border, and rarer still for the bodies of three children to be found together…
…Officials said there were as yet no signs of foul play, and that the four may have died from dehydration and heat exposure. The bodies appeared to be those of undocumented immigrants, but neither their identities nor their country of origin had been determined on Monday…
…The four bodies were found by Border Patrol agents across the river from Reynosa, Mexico, in an area of the United States side of the border that is heavily traveled by Central American families. They were in a brush-covered region southeast of Anzalduas Park on federal property managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Services, near the state-run Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area, officials said. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was leading the investigation because the bodies were found on federal land…
…It was unclear what went wrong from the woman and children whose bodies were found: whether they had gotten lost in the brush in the heat, whether they were already ill when they crossed the river, whether they were abandoned by smugglers or other migrants. Sheriff Guerra said they were found in a makeshift staging area, a clearing near the river where groups of migrants often gather after they cross the river. From there, they typically walk deeper into the countryside to look for federal agents.
South Texas is always hot in June, but the heat has been extreme in recent days…
August 15, 2019: The Guardian posted an article titled: “Detained migrant children must have access to soap and other basic needs, court rules”. From the article:
Migrant children detained by the US government must have access to soap, toothpaste, and other basic hygiene products, as well as edible food, clean water and places to sleep, a panel of judges has ruled.
The administration had contended that detained immigrant children, who are required to be provided with “safe and sanitary” conditions, didn’t need basic hygiene products.
The ninth circuit court of appeals in San Francisco tossed out the government’s challenge to a lower court’s findings that authorities had failed to provide safe and sanitary conditions for the children in line with a 1997 agreement widely known ad the Flores settlement.
The government argued that authorities weren’t required to provide specific accommodations under the settlement, such as soap, and asked the panel to weigh in.
A Trump administration lawyer tried to argue the point in June, saying the agreement was vague and might not require that a toothbrush and soap be provided to children during brief stays in custody.
The appellate judged disagreed, writing: “Assuring that children eat enough edible food, drink clean water, are housed in hygienic facilities with sanitary bathrooms, have soap and toothpaste, and are not sleep deprived are without double essential to the children’s safety.”…
…The Flores settlement between advocates for young immigrants and the US government says children should be held in facilities that meet certain standards and released as soon as is reasonably possible, which has been considered to be about 20 days.
August 15, 2019: The Hill posted an article titled: “Appeals court rules Trump administration must provide hygiene products at migrant facilities”. It was written by Zack Budryk. From the article:
A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a previous court order mandating the Trump administration to provide basic personal hygiene items to children in detention facilities in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.
The ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco hands a loss to the Trump administration, which had challenged a lower court decision two years ago ordering U.S. officials to provide basic personal hygiene items as well as adequate sleeping conditions, temperatures, and food and water to children in detention facilities in the Rio Grande Valley.
The appeal’s court ruling essentially backs the two-decade old Flores agreement, which mandates key aspects of how immigrant children can be held by authorities, including that they be kept under the “least restrictive conditions” possible.
“Assuring that children eat edible food, drink clean water, are housed in hygienic facilities with sanitary bathrooms, have soap and toothpaste, and are not sleep-deprived are without doubt essential to the children’s safety,” the appeals court panel ruled.
“The district court properly construed the agreement as requiring such conditions rather than allowing the government to decide whether to provide them,” they added…
THIS BLOG WILL BE UPDATED WHEN MORE INFORMATION IS FOUND.
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