Migrant Mother Alleges ICE’s Negligence Claimed Her Toddler’s Life

"A mother lost her little girl because ICE and those running the Dilley immigration prison failed them inexcusably."


A migrant child, who was placed in a Texas detention center, in accordance with the Trump administration’s relentless crackdown on undocumented immigrants, has reportedly died nearly six weeks after her release.

The child's 20-year-old mother and her lawyer alleged that a detention facility run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is to be blamed for the death.

According to CNN, Yazmin Juarez, and her 18-month-old daughter, Mariee, came to the U.S. from Guatemala via the Rio Grande and were detained in Dilley, Texas, under "unsafe conditions, neglectful medical care, and inadequate supervision."

Juarez’s lawyers said shortly after they arrived at the South Texas Family Residential Center in March, Mariee contracted a respiratory infection at the center, which "went woefully under-treated for nearly a month."

The young mother claimed her child was healthy, when she first arrived at the Dilley facility, but with time her condition deteriorated. Juarez sought medical help from the authorities six days after they arrival at the facility.

According to Juarez’s attorney, Mariee was diagnosed with acute upper respiratory infection and was subsequently prescribed Tylenol.

But, to the mother’s dismay, Mariee showed no sign of recovery. In fact, her symptoms got worse as she started to lose weight, vomit and also developed fever and diarrhea.

The concerned mother reportedly sought urgent medical attention for at least five times during their nearly three weeks at the facility, but to no avail. The situation got even more alarming when Mariee received various other diagnoses that included acute bronchiolitis and an ear infection.

"After it became clear that Mariee was gravely ill, ICE simply discharged mother and daughter. Yazmin immediately sought medical care for her baby, but it was too late. Mariee died following six agonizing weeks in the hospital after leaving Dilley," said her lawyers.

Upon her release, Mariee was hospitalized for respiratory failure and died six weeks later in Philadelphia.

"A mother lost her little girl because ICE and those running the Dilley immigration prison failed them inexcusably," the law firm told CNN. "We are working with Yazmin and her family to obtain justice for the failures by ICE and others, and to ensure that no other family suffers such a needless and devastating loss."

Earlier this month, a Houston-based immigration lawyer, Mana Yegani, took to Twitter to reveal what could be the first reported case of child death under the custody of ICE. The child who was placed in a Texas detention center reportedly died due to improper care after contracting a disease from one of the other young detainees.

However, this isn’t the first time ICE has come under scrutiny because of its medical neglect, which was partially blamed in the deaths of several detainees.

For instance, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Detention Watch Network (DWN), and National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) have found the agency was unable to comply with their own medical standards even when Office of Detention Oversight (ODO) inspections identified these violations of medical standards as “contributing factors in these deaths.”

Despite reports suggesting otherwise, in the wake of the recent incident, ICE assured it's doing the best for the detainees under its custody.

"ICE is committed to ensuring the welfare of all those in the agency's custody, including providing access to necessary and appropriate medical care. Comprehensive medical care is provided to all individuals in ICE custody,” said the agency.

Banner Image Credits: REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

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