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Immigrant mother sues private prison company over death of 1-year-old daughter

Immigrant mother sues private prison company over death of 1-year-old daughter
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The mother of a 1-year-old girl who died shortly after the two were released from a detention facility operated by a private company has filed a $40 million lawsuit alleging medical staff improperly treated her daughter's illness.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Yazmin Juárez, who testified earlier this month before the House Oversight and Reform Committee about conditions in detention facilities, sued CoreCivic, the company that operates a migrant detention center in Dilley, Texas.

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Juárez argued in her court filing that CoreCivic allowed dangerous conditions at the facility and cleared her daughter for travel last year after she was admitted to the facility's medical center with a 104-degree fever and symptoms including vomiting and a cough, according to the AP.

Her daughter, Mariee, died of a hemorrhage that led to brain and organ failure shortly after being admitted to a hospital just one day after being released from the facility, according to attorneys for Juárez, who is from Guatemala.

“We don’t believe that it’s ever appropriate to jail small children,” Stanton Jones, Juárez's attorney, told the news service. “At a minimum, if CoreCivic is making huge amounts of money to run a jail for children, there are legal duties that come with that.”

A spokesperson for CoreCivic told The Hill that all medical and mental health personnel at the Dilley facility were hired and overseen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“We care about every person entrusted to us, especially vulnerable populations for which our partners rightfully have very high standards that we work hard to meet each day,” the spokesperson said, adding that the company had "deep sympathy for the family and the tragic loss of their child," which they noted occurred "six weeks after leaving the facility."

"We care about every person entrusted to us, especially vulnerable populations for which our partners rightfully have very high standards that we work hard to meet each day. South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC) is a facility built during the Obama Administration for the purpose of caring for immigrant families and providing them with a wide range of services while they await due process," the spokesperson said.

"That includes comprehensive student education center for Pre-K through 12th grade, monitored childcare, recreation areas and library, as well as residential complexes each equipped with a 775-foot playroom," they continued.

ICE officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Migrant children at another Texas facility, near El Paso, were moved late last month after reports of poor conditions at that facility.

This article was updated at 12:00 p.m. on 8/1.