Immigration: Building Borders, Burning Bridges

Detention Center Deaths
Concurrent with the fallout from the raid, The Washington Post launched a four part series on the human rights violations facing detainees across the country. The expose revealed that basic conditions in some of the detainee facilities are so bad that they've led to a multitude of preventable deaths, at least thirty of which the causes have been deemed 'questionable.'

Juan Guevara-Lorano, an unemployed legal U.S. resident, was put in a detention center after he was arrested in El Paso for driving illegal border-crossers farther into the city. A novice EMT did Guevara's initial screening and physical assessment, procedures that under the Division of Immigration Health Services' rules are supposed to be performed by a registered nurse. That was just the beginning of Guevara's substandard care.

On August 4th, Guevara complained of a terrible headache. The same EMT gave him Tylenol and referred him to the center's physician. But Guevara never saw a doctor. Eight days later, he vomited in his cell. By the time he was taken to a hospital, doctors determined that an aneurysm in his brain had burst. Guevara's wife, pregnant with their second son, hurried to the hospital but the guards wouldn't immediately allow her inside. Guevara's mother waited five hours before they let her in. By the time she was allowed in, her son was brain-dead. Guevara was just 21 years-old when he died.

In response to these and other reports from immigrant right organizations and other advocacy groups, there are already pieces of legislation in the House and Senate that speak specifically to detainee’s basic medical rights, but for those who have already lost their lives, there is no recourse.