Things That Matter

The Mother Of A Child Who Died In Immigration Custody Is Suing The Private Prison Company

The mother of a toddler who died right after they were both held at a detention facility, has filed a federal lawsuit in San Antonio and is demanding  $40 million from CoreCivic, the private jail company that operates it. Yazmin Juárez filed the lawsuit this past Wednesday over the death of her 1-year-old daughter Mariee who would develop a respiratory infection at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement family detention center that CoreCivic operates in Dilley, Texas. She would die of a hemorrhage that led to brain and organ failure. Juárez’s lawyers said that Mariee’s fever had reached 104.2 degrees but that medical staff at the facility had failed to treat her.

The 2018 death sparked outrage and added fuel to the fire in what has been a well-publicized story about migrant children deaths at the U.S. southern border.

Juárez says she made the journey from Guatemala and made the decision to cross the border having fled a dangerous situation. Just last month she told her story at a House Oversight subcommittee hearing where explained the terrible situation at the detention facility. Juárez’s story brought forth a range of emotions for many at the hearing as photos of Mariee were shown on television screens. 

“We came to the United States where I hoped to build a better and safer life for us. Instead, I watched my baby girl die slowly and painfully just a few months before her second birthday,” Juárez said in Spanish at the hearing. “We made this journey because we feared for our lives. The trip was dangerous, but I was more afraid of what might happen to us if we stayed. So we came to the United States where I hoped to build a better, safer life for us. Unfortunately, that did not happen.”

Credit: @ajplus / Twitter

Many senators and members of Congress weighed in at the time about the Jaurez’s story and called for immediate action on the conditions at many of these detention centers.  “This is unjust and un-America. And it is cruel. No family should be criminalized for seeking safety,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) told reporters at the time of the hearing. 

The lawsuit points out the poor and dangerous conditions in the facility that may have played a role in Mariee’s death.

 Credit: @crismcabrera / Twitter

The focus of the lawsuit is the conditions inside the detention facility that held families and small children in overcrowded quarters. This was credited in creating prime conditions for the spread of sickness and other diseases. 

A spokesperson for CoreCivic told the AP that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for contracting, staffing and oversight of medical and mental health services at the Texas facility. The company operates the family detention center at Dilley, the largest facility of its kind.

“While we can’t speak to the specifics of pending litigation, what I can tell you is we have deep sympathy for the family and the tragic loss of their child six weeks after leaving the facility,” CoreCivic spokeswoman Amanda Gilchrist in a statement. “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.”

We can only hope there is immediate justice for Juárez and Mariee.

Credit: @nbcnews / Twitter

In 2018, Juárez would file a wrongful death claim seeking $60 million from the U.S. government because of their failure to help and provide her daughter with proper medical care. According to CoreCivic’s financial statements, the Dilley facility made $171 million in revenue last year.

There is growing hope that justice will be served and the case will be an example going forward that the lives of these migrants matter. Stanton Jones, Juárez’s attorney, told the AP that if CoreCivic will be taking care of children, there are responsibilities that come with that as well.  

“We don’t believe that it’s ever appropriate to jail small children,” Jones said. “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.”

READ: A Migrant Mother Details The Death of Her Daughter After ICE Detention In Emotional Testimony

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Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

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Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP via Getty Images

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is not a contentious topic among Americans. The program offers young adults who entered the U.S. as children relief from deportation and a chance to live out of the shadows. Now that it has been reinstated, Google wants to help some people achieve the dream of being a DACA recipient.

Google is pledging a quarter of a million dollars to help people apply for DACA.

The Trump administration did everything in their power to end DACA. The constant uncertainty has left hundreds of thousands of young people in limbo. The war waged against Dreamers by the Trump administration came to a temporary end when a federal judge ruled that Chad Wolf was illegally installed as the head of the Department of Homeland Security. It invalidated a member from Wolf stating that no new DACA applications would be approved.

Kent Walker, the SVP of Global Affairs, laid out the case for DACA in an essay.

Walker discusses the uncertainty the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients currently face after the tumultuous time for the program. He also touches on the economic hardships that has befallen so many because of the pandemic. With so many people out of work, some Dreamers do not have the money to apply or renew their DACA due to a lack of financial resources. For that reason, Google is getting involved.

“We want to do our part, so Google.org is making a $250,000 grant to United We Dream to cover the DACA application fees of over 500 Dreamers,” writes Walker. “This grant builds on over $35 million in support that Google.org and Google employees have contributed over the years to support immigrants and refugees worldwide, including more than $1 million from Googlers and Google.org specifically supporting DACA and domestic immigration efforts through employee giving campaigns led by HOLA (Google’s Latino Employee Resource Group).”

People are celebrating Google for their decision but are calling on Congress to do more.

Congress will ultimately have to decide on what to do for the Dreamers. There has been growing pressure from both sides of the aisle calling on Congress to work towards granting them citizenship. DACA is a risk of being dismantled at any moment. It is up to Congress to come through and deliver a bill to fix the issue once and for all.

“We know this is only a temporary solution. We need legislation that not only protects Dreamers, but also delivers other much-needed reforms,” writes Walker. “We will support efforts by the new Congress and incoming Administration to pass comprehensive immigration reform that improves employment-based visa programs that enhance American competitiveness, gives greater assurance to immigrant workers and employers, and promotes better and more humane immigration processing and border security practices.”

READ: New DACA Applications Were Processed At The End Of 2020 For The First Time In Years

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Honduran Woman Gave Birth On Bridge Between U.S. And Mexico Border But What Will Happen To Them Next?

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Honduran Woman Gave Birth On Bridge Between U.S. And Mexico Border But What Will Happen To Them Next?

Julio César Aguilar / Getty Images

As the number of parents and children crossing the border continues to increase, driven by violence and poverty in Central America, many are growing desperate while being forced to wait in migrant camps in Mexico. While crossings have not reached the levels seen in previous years, facilities that hold migrants are approaching capacity, which has been reduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This is forcing many to check the status of their claims by crossing into the U.S. to speak to border agents. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more and more women are being forced to give birth in less than ideal situations – putting at risk both the lives of the mother and child.

A migrant woman gave birth on a bridge between U.S.-Mexico border.

According to Mexican border authorities, a Honduran woman gave birth on the Mexican side of the border bridge between Matamoros, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas. The woman was apparently trying to reach the U.S. side, but felt unsteady when she got there and was helped by pedestrians on the Mexican side waiting to cross.

Mexico’s National Immigration Institute said the birth occurred Saturday afternoon on the Ignacio Zaragoza border bridge, also known as “Los Tomates.” It said authorities received an alert from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials regarding “a woman trying to enter the country improperly.”

It said the woman was taken to a hospital in Matamoros, where she was given free care. Her child will have the right to Mexican citizenship.

Hernández is hardly the first woman to give birth while hoping to cross into the U.S.

Just last month, a woman gave birth along the U.S. side of the Rio Grande. She had just crossed the river and her smugglers were yelling at her to keep moving as U.S. Border Patrol agents arrived. But she couldn’t continue, fell to the ground, and began to give birth.

The mother and her her daughter are safe and in good health. “They treated me well, thank God,” said the woman, who didn’t want her name used because she fears retribution if she’s forced to leave the country, in an interview with ABC News.

“There’s so many women in great danger,” Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, told ABC News. “They must really think before they do what they do and risk the life of their unborn child.”

Like so many other women, Hernández was waiting in Mexico under Trump’s cruel immigration policies.

Hernández was reportedly among about 800 migrants sheltering in an improvised riverside camp while awaiting U.S. hearings on their claims for asylum or visas. Other migrants are waiting in Matamoros, but have rented rooms.

Thousands of other migrants are waiting in other Mexican border cities for a chance to enter the U.S. — some for years. The Trump administration has turned away tens of thousands at legal border crossings, first citing a shortage of space and then telling people to wait for court dates under its “Remain in Mexico” policy.

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