A Guatemalan toddler died of a severe respiratory infection that "went woefully under-treated for nearly a month" while she was in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody earlier this year, a lawsuit filed by her mother alleges.
Yazmin Juarez, 20, sought asylum after entering the United States with her 18-month-old daughter, Mariee. They were taken into custody by ICE in March and held in the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, for about three weeks. Throughout that time, Juarez repeatedly sought medical attention for Mariee, the suit says, but the help she received was inadequate and the prescriptions were not effective. In addition to respiratory symptoms, Mariee suffered weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.
After the mother and daughter were released, they flew to New Jersey, where Yazmin's mother lives, and took Mariee to the hospital the next day. The little girl was hospitalized for respiratory failure for six weeks to no avail. She died May 10.
"A mother lost her little girl because ICE and those running the Dilley immigration prison failed them inexcusably," said a statement from the Juarez family's attorneys.
Child welfare officials in Texas are investigating what may be the same case, though details of the child whose death is at issue in that probe have not been released. ICE told CNN it is "committed to ensuring the welfare of all those in the agency's custody, including providing access to necessary and appropriate medical care." Bonnie Kristian