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Immigration detention: Guatemalan woman in ICE custody has died

Many New Jersey households include family members who emigrated from other countries of origin to the United States. When problem issues arise regarding legal status, such people often wind up in immigration detention facilities until their cases are fully adjudicated. Since October, there seems to have been a rising death toll among detained immigrants.

A 22-year-old woman from Guatemala was navigating the asylum process and was residing in an immigration detention facility. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers took her to a hospital where she died. It is the eighth immigrant death since October 1, 2020. That is the same number of immigrant deaths there were in the entire fiscal year of 2019.

The woman's cause of death was listed as autoimmune hepatitis. She also suffered liver failure and septic shock. Even though she had passed her credible fear screening after requesting asylum, she continued to be held in ICE custody for months. During her detention, she had been taken to a hospital for gallbladder removal surgery then to another detention center. Just before she died, she was taken to a hospital again due to severe abdominal pain.

In New Jersey and throughout the United States, many immigrants have complained of substandard care while residing in ICE custody. Immigrant advocates have called for reform of U.S. immigration policies, stating that people are being forced to reside in inhumane conditions and are not receiving medical care when they need it. Those held in immigration detention facilities have rights, and anyone who believes his or her rights have been violated may reach out for legal support at any time.

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