“Without a name or more specific information, we are unable to research this allegation,” ICE spokesperson Danielle Bennett said in a statement. “That doesn’t make the allegation true, just impossible to refute.”
Dilley, officially known as the South Texas Family Residential Center, is the largest of ICE’s three family detention centres, with a capacity of about 2,400 people. It is located about an hour southwest of San Antonio.
A June 2017 report by the Homeland Security inspector general said the family detention centres are “clean, well-organized, and efficiently run.” The report also found that the agency was working to address “the inherent challenges of providing medical care and language services” in detention.
A Houston immigration lawyer, Mana Yegani, tweeted late Tuesday that a girl, who had suffered a respiratory illness while at Dilley, had died soon after her release.
“The child died following her stay at an ICE Detention Center, as a result of possible negligent care and a respiratory illness she contracted from one of the other children,” Yegani said in a tweet. She added that the girl had a grandmother in New Jersey.
Yegani said she learned of the death online through a District of Columbia lawyer, Melissa Turcios.
In an email to the Washington Post, Turcios said she is a friend of the child’s family and is helping them to obtain pro-bono legal counsel but had no further comment.