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Guatemalan mother claims inadequate medical care in ICE custody led to toddler’s death

Posted: 2:18 PM, Aug 29, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-29 15:18:13-04

DILLEY – (NBC) – A toddler who came across the border with her mother seeking asylum died after receiving inadequate medical care in ICE custody at Dilley, lawyers for the woman tell NBC News .

Yazmin Juárez came to the United States in March with her 18-month-old daughter Mariee. In May, the little girl died. The Guatemalan mother and her lawyers now plan to file several lawsuits alleging that negligence and inadequate medical care when they were held in detention led to the toddler’s death.

Juárez, 20, filed a notice of claim Tuesday against the city of Eloy, Arizona, which is the primary contractor of the facility 900 miles away in Dilley, Texas, under an unusual arrangement between Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Eloy and CoreCivic, the private company that runs the facility.

The Dilley facility is about 150 miles northwest of Corpus Christi.

“Mariee’s tragic death resulted from the unsafe and unsanitary conditions in immigration detention at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, and the inadequate, substandard medical care Mariee received there,” Arnold & Porter, the law firm representing Juárez pro bono, said in the claim.

Yazmin Juárez and her daughter, Mariee, came to the United States seeking asylum from Guatemala. (NBC News/Courtesy Yazmin Juárez)

Juárez and Mariee were transferred to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Dilley on March 5, a few days after they crossed the border and requested asylum, according to a statement from the law firm. Mariee had no health problems at the time, according to the statement.

“Mariee was a completely normal, happy, healthy, beautiful little 18-month-old girl,” said R. Stanton Jones, a partner at the law firm. “She had never had any medical problems or chronic medical conditions of any kind.”

A picture of Baby Mariee. (NBC News/Courtesy Yazmin Juárez)

At the detention facility, Mariee became sick with a severe respiratory infection that went “woefully under-treated for nearly a month,” according to the law firm. Juárez continually sought attention from medical staff but she was prescribed medications that did not improve the child’s condition and Mariee continued to get worse, according to a timeline provided by the law firm.

“A mother lost her little girl because ICE and those running the Dilley immigration prison failed them inexcusably,” the law firm said.

For more on the story, check out the NBC News report .