A Honduran immigrant held at a troubled detention center in California’s high desert died Wednesday evening while in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. Vincente Caceres-Maradiaga, 46, was receiving treatment for several health issues while waiting for an immigration court to decide whether to deport him, according to a statement from ICE. He collapsed while playing soccer in the detention center and died on his way to a local hospital.
Caceres-Maradiaga’s death is the latest in a series of deaths among inmates at the Adelanto Detention Center, run by GEO Group, the country’s largest private prison company. Three people held at the facility have died in the past three months, including Osmar Epifanio Gonzalez-Gadba, a 32-year-old Nicaraguan found hanging in his cell on March 22, and Sergio Alonso Lopez, a Mexican who died of internal bleeding. on April 13 after spending more than two months in detention.
Since its opening in 2011, Adelanto has been accused of insufficient medical care and poor conditions. In July 2015, 29 members of Congress sent a letter to ICE and federal inspectors requesting an investigation into health and safety issues at the facility. They cited the death of Fernando Dominguez at the facility in 2012, saying it was the result of “egregious errors” by the center’s medical staff, who failed to perform proper medical examinations on him and allowed for timely off-site treatment. In November 2015, 400 detainees began a hunger strike, demanding better medical and dental care and other reforms.
The federal government guarantees GEO that a minimum of 975 immigrants will be detained at the facility and pays $111 per detainee per day.
Yet last year, the city of Adelanto, acting as an intermediary between ICE and GEO, reached an agreement to extend the company’s contract through 2021. The federal government guarantees GEO that a minimum of 975 Immigrants will be detained at the facility and pay $111 per person. detained per day, according to California State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), who has fought to reduce private immigrant detention. After that time, ICE only has to pay $50 per detainee per day, providing an incentive to fill more beds.
Of California’s four private immigration detention centers, three use local governments as intermediaries between ICE and private prison companies. On Tuesday, the California Senate voted 26-13 to ban such contracts, backing a bill that could potentially shut down Adelanto when its contract expires in 2021. The Dignity Not Detention Act, authored by Lara, would prevent local governments from sign or extend contracts. with private prison companies to detain immigrants starting in 2019. The bill would also require all state facilities that hold ICE detainees, including private detention centers and public prisons, to comply national standards for detention conditions, authorizing state prosecutors to hold detention centers. operators are responsible for poor conditions inside their facilities.
An identical bill passed last year, but was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. “I have been troubled by recent reports of unsatisfactory conditions and limited access to counsel in private immigration detention centers,” Brown wrote in his veto message last September. But he deferred to the Department of Homeland Security, which was then reviewing its use of for-profit immigration detention. In that study, the Homeland Security Advisory Council rejected the continued use of private prison companies to detain immigrants, citing “the inferiority of the private prison model.” Yet since President Donald Trump took office, the federal government has moved to expand private immigrant detention, signing a $110 million deal with GEO in April to build the first new immigration detention center under Trump.
Nine people died while in ICE custody in fiscal year 2017, which began October 1st. Meanwhile, the value of private prison stocks has nearly doubled since Election Day.
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