Another immigrant dies while in ICE custody at a controversial for-profit detention center

He was the third detainee to die at the Adelanto Detention Facility this year.

CREDIT: Photo Courtesy of ICE
CREDIT: Photo Courtesy of ICE

A Honduran immigrant who was arrested last month by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents during an immigration raid, died this week after he collapsed while playing soccer.

Vicente Caceres-Maradiaga was pronounced dead at the Adelanto Detention Facility, a for-profit facility in California. Detention center staff were unable to revive him, according to an ICE press release. The preliminary cause of death is acute coronary syndrome. Caceres-Maradiaga had previously been diagnosed with hypertension and an umbilical hernia, two conditions for which he received treatment while in ICE custody.

ICE agents arrested Caceres-Maradiaga last month during a raid in North Hollywood, California.

“Records indicate that Mr. Caceres, who was never lawfully admitted to the U.S., has had two prior criminal convictions since 2011, one for DUI and one for fraud,” the ICE press release said. He is now the ninth immigrant detainee to die while in ICE custody in the 2017 fiscal year which began in October, and the third to die at Adelanto.

According to the ICE press release, Adelanto staff made multiple efforts to revive Caceres-Maradiaga. But that hardly makes up for the conditions immigrant detainees reportedly endure while they’re still alive at the facility. The previous two detainees who died at Adelanto this year were a Nicaraguan immigrant who died from injuries sustained after attempting suicide and another man who died of internal bleeding.

The Adelanto facility, which is owned and operated by the private prison company GEO Group, has long faced serious scrutiny by immigrant advocates. They have good reason to be worried about the state of detention centers, particularly at a place like Adelanto where hundreds of men have staged hunger strikes in the past to protest condition of their lockup. A 2015 documentary about the facility detailed four incidents of extreme physical abuse by GEO staff towards immigrant detainees, including one that resulted in a death and another that caused a miscarriage. And in January 2017, the advocacy group Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) filed a federal complaint accusing the facility of frequently restricting visitation. Last year, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed a bill that would have shut down private detention centers, including Adelanto.