Toddler dies after ICE detainment, lawyer alleges substandard care

Toddler dies after ICE detainment, lawyer alleges substandard care
© Getty Images

A migrant mother and her lawyers allege that substandard care at a detention facility run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is to blame for her toddler’s death six weeks after their release.

Yazmin Juarez, 20, and her 18-month-old daughter, Mariee, came to the U.S. from Guatemala via the Rio Grande, according to CNN. Juarez sought asylum and was detained by ICE agents. She and her child were placed in the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.

ADVERTISEMENT

Juarez’s lawyers say Mariee contracted a respiratory infection at the center, which "went woefully under-treated for nearly a month." Juarez sought treatment for her daughter and was prescribed medication that her lawyers say did not help her daughter.

Upon their release, Juarez and Mariee flew to New Jersey to be with Juarez’s mother. Mariee was then hospitalized for respiratory failure and died six weeks later in Philadelphia, according to CNN.

"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." 

"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,” ICE said in a statement to The Hill.

The revelation comes amid increased scrutiny over ICE regarding its role in the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, which led to the separation of thousands of children from their families at the U.S. southern border. 

“Abolish ICE” has become a rallying cry among the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, but a poll released Monday shows only a quarter of all Democrats actually support eliminating the body.

Updated at 10:04 a.m.