Third death in Georgia immigrant detention centers in less than a year

Atlanta, GA — Immigrant rights organizations, Georgia Detention Watch, Project South and Detention Watch Network demand an immediate investigation and public release of the findings into the death of Yulio Castro-Garrido. Castro-Garrido, 33, died on Tuesday while in the custody of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after being detained at the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia.

“This is tragically the third death in Georgia immigration detention centers in less than a year,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, Legal & Advocacy Director of Project South. “As our year-long documentation showed, access to healthcare at Stewart is grossly inadequate. As such, many questions surround this death. Ultimately, given the systematic human rights violations at Stewart, the facility needs to be shut down immediately.”

Since 2003, 178 people have died in immigrant detention – Castro-Garrido’s passing marks the second death to occur in ICE immigrant detention in fiscal year 2018. Recent investigations into deaths in immigration detention, Fatal Neglect: How ICE Ignores Deaths in Detention and Systemic Indifference: Dangerous and Substandard Medical Care in US Immigration Detention, have found that inadequate medical care has contributed to numerous deaths.

“The Stewart Detention Center is emblematic of abuse found system-wide,” said Kevin Caron of Georgia Detention Watch. “No life is second-hand, yet in immigration detention the very premise of treating people with dignity and respect can never exist as long as people are behind bars.”

The passing of Castro-Garrido comes as the Trump administration continues to push his anti-immigrant agenda and praise ICE, despite the agency’s long-standing, well documented and overwhelming track record of abuse.

“The death toll amassed by ICE is unacceptable,” said Gabriela Marquez-Benitez, Senior Organizer at Detention Watch Network. “ICE has proven to community members and Members of Congress alike that they cannot be trusted and should never be afforded the benefit of the doubt. We join our Georgia members in calling for Mr. Castro-Garrido’s death to be swiftly investigated, for those findings to be made public, and for the Stewart Detention Center to be closed immediately.”

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Georgia Detention Watch (GDW) is a coalition of organizations and individuals that advocates alongside immigrants to end the inhumane and unjust detention and law enforcement policies and practices directed against immigrant communities in our state.

Project South is a Southern-based leadership development organization that creates spaces for movement building. We work with communities pushed forward by the struggle– to strengthen leadership and to provide popular political and economic education for personal and social transformation. We build relationships with organizations and networks across the US and global South to inform our local work and to engage in bottom-up movement building for social and economic justice.

Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention. Visit http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org. Follow @DetentionWatch.

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