Mariee, an 18-month-old girl, contracted a respiratory infection shortly after arriving to a migrant family detention center in Dilley, Texas, according to CNN. Six weeks after her release, she was dead.
Mariee and her mother, Yazmin Juarez, were reportedly fleeing violence in their home country of Guatemala. They applied for asylum after crossing the border into the United States. Juarez said she requested medical care for her daughter, only to receive some medication that didn’t work.
After three weeks in detention, the toddler spent six weeks in a children’s hospital in Philadelphia until she passed away.
Law firm, Arnold & Porter, is now representing Juarez in fighting back against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the detention center.
“A mother lost her little girl because ICE and those running the Dilley immigration prison failed them inexcusably,” said the firm in a statement.
The law firm claims that the mother-daughter pair were held in a facility “with unsafe conditions, neglectful medical care, and inadequate supervision,” and that Mariee “went woefully under-treated for nearly a month.”
2/Yazmin and Mariee fled life-threatening violence in Guatemala to seek asylum here. They were taken to Dilley several days after entering the US. Medical personnel noted that Mariee had no health problems at check-in. Here’s a photo of Mariee before they fled. #JusticeforMariee pic.twitter.com/kquCc3NAnK
— Daniel Jacobson (@Dan_F_Jacobson) August 27, 2018
Juarez claims her toddler was healthy when they arrived at the Texas facility and that symptoms began in her toddler six days after their arrival. She says she requested better medical treatment five times. They were finally released when ICE officials realized just how sick Mariee was.
ICE responded to a request from CNN, not addressing the case specifically:
“ICE is committed to ensuring the welfare of all those in the agency’s custody, including providing access to necessary and appropriate medical care. Comprehensive medical care is provided to all individuals in ICE custody.”
Juarez’s lawyers have a different story. “After it became clear that Mariee was gravely ill, ICE simply discharged mother and daughter,” they said in a statement. “Yazmin immediately sought medical care for her baby, but it was too late. Mariee died following six agonizing weeks in the hospital after leaving Dilley.”
According to Vice News, Mariee died on May 10 of this year. Her mother is going to school in New Jersey while she awaits the results of her pending asylum case.