Cibola County Correctional Center


ICE neglected to provide urgent care to trans woman with HIV for 13 days

It took ICE another five months to remove detainees from risky conditions.


Samira Sadeque


Posted on Mar 5, 2020

A transgender immigrant who was detained by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) in New Mexico waited 13 days for urgent medical care after telling authorities that she was bleeding from her rectum, BuzzFeed News reports. 

The woman, who was detained at Cibola County Correctional Center, was then reportedly diagnosed with HIV, according to an email sent from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that BuzzFeed reviewed. 

An official with DSH, which encompasses ICE, said the delay in medical care put the detainee at risk of immense consequences and further “exposed other detainees and facility and ICE staff to an infectious and potentially deadly disease.”

Dana Salvano-Dunn, director of the compliance branch for the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, expressed her grievance in the email sent in August 2019. The email further revealed how in other incidents, the facility awaited up to 17 days to address detainees’ urgent medical needs.

The center, which is reportedly the only kind in the country to have a specific section for transgender women, is reported to have poor hygiene and maintained low standards for quarantine during outbreaks of the chickenpox and mumps. 

Immigrants at the center were seen in living in areas that were not “appropriately cleaned and sanitized,” which may have increased the risk of spread of infectious disease, according to Salvano-Dunn’s email. 

Despite the email’s call for urgent action, it took ICE five months to remove detainees, which included more than 20 trans women, to other facilities. According to BuzzFeed, 27 transgender women and 15 others with chronic illnesses were removed from the facility in January.

DHS did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.

In December, a whistleblower alleged ICE’s negligence to provide proper healthcare led to preventable illnesses and deaths.

Read BuzzFeed’s full report here.


H/T BuzzFeed News

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*First Published: Mar 5, 2020, 5:19 pm CST