Man With Flu-Like Symptoms Dies In ICE Processing Center


A 54-year-old man of Mexican descent passed away while detained at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Florence, Arizona.

Abel Reyes reportedly exhibited symptoms of flu before he was found unresponsive on Wednesday, April 3. Authorities are still waiting for the results of his autopsy to find out the cause of his sudden death.

ICE Detainee Dies While In Custody

According to a press release, Reyes was transferred to the Florence Service Processing Center from the Maricopa County Jail on Feb. 26. He was placed under medical observation on April 1.

Two days later, facility personnel found him no longer breathing.

"[The ICE Health Service Corps] responded, began life-saving efforts and contacted local paramedics," the statement from the federal agency reads. "Upon arrival, the paramedics continued attempts to revive Mr. Reyes, and contacted doctors at the Mountain Vista Medical Center. At 6:33 a.m., MVMC declared Mr. Reyes deceased."

The ICE said that it has alerted proper authorities, including the Mexican Consulate, of the death. Reyes was the fourth person to die while in the custody of the ICE since October 2018.

ICE Under Scrutiny

In a report published last year, the Human Rights Watch blasted the ICE for inadequate medical care that contributed to the deaths of eight out of 15 immigrants detained in facilities across the United States, including those that were managed by private-prison companies under contract with ICE.

"ICE has proven unable or unwilling to provide adequately for the health and safety of the people it detains," stated Clara Long, a senior researcher for the Human Rights Watch. "The Trump administration's efforts to drastically expand the already-bloated immigration detention system will only put more people at risk."

The federal agency is also facing a lawsuit after a 20-month-old child died in March 2018 at the South Texas Family Residential Center. The young girl died of severe infection.

The mother of the child, Yazmin Juárez, claimed that the ICE provided "inadequate, substandard medical care" to her daughter. While at the facility, she said that the child saw at least five medical workers, only one of whom is an actual physician. Her daughter was prescribed with seven medications, including a Vicks VapoRub. Juárez is seeking $60 million for the death of her child.

The IHSC said that it provides medical care services based on the ICE Performance-Based National Detention Standards and the detainees' individual medical needs. All detainees receive medical, dental, mental health screening 12 hours after they arrive at a detention facility and a full health assessment 14 days later. Detention facilities also offer daily sick call and 24-hour emergency care.

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