Nicaraguan Immigrant Dies In ICE Custody After Testing Constructive For COVID

A 37-year-old Nicaraguan woman who crossed the border last week and said she was afraid of being transferred to her home country died in ICE custody Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19, as reported by government documents from BuzzFeed News emerges.

The woman was arrested by border guards who transferred her to ICE custody. She was later tested positive for COVID and rushed to a hospital in Harlingen, Texas. According to the documents, the cause of death had not yet been clarified.

ICE officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Several people in ICE custody have died after testing positive for COVID since the pandemic began. The woman also appears to be the fifth person to die in ICE custody this fiscal year, which began October 1. In the previous fiscal year ended September 30, 21 immigrants in ICE custody died, the highest number since 2005. Late last year, an immigrant in ICE custody in rural Mississippi died of a heart attack after staff failed to provide urgent medical assistance Had sent supplies to the hospital, according to a draft inspector general report received by BuzzFeed News.

As of this week, it was reported that over 22,000 immigrants in ICE custody have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The agency detains more than 25,000 immigrants across the country.

In September, the House Oversight Committee found that ICE prisoners had died from inadequate medical care and that prison workers had “falsified records to cover up” problems. That same month, the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee released a report finding that people detained by ICE are often in poor medical care and that detention centers are using segregation as a threat against immigrants.

ICE has publicly insisted that its detention centers, as well as those operated by private, for-profit corporations, provide all detainees with thorough and adequate medical care. Agency officials have repeatedly said that they take the health and safety of detainees very seriously and that while deaths are “regrettable and always a cause for concern” they are “extremely rare”.

A senior DHS official told a federal judge this week that the Department of Homeland Security “likely encountered approximately 210,000 people” in July – the highest monthly number since 2000. “July also saw likely a record number of unaccompanied child encounters. .. and the second highest number of encounters with family units, ”added the official.

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