On Tuesday, Texas immigration lawyer Mana Yegani claimed that a migrant child had died “following her stay at an ICE Detention Center.” ICE has since denied the claims by playing semantics.
The first tweet put out by Yegani on Tuesday night read:
There are reports that a child died in ICE custody in Dilley, Texas. Getting more information as the story develops. It’s unclear where the parent(s) of the child is. Some reports indicate that they maybe in New Jersey while child was in Texas.
You’ll note the tweet claims the child died while “in ICE custody.” However, Yagani soon posted an update that clarified the timeframe of the death. She corrected her original statement to say, “the child died following her stay at an ICE Detention Center.”
Update: 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.
The events took place in Dilley Family Detention Center in south Texas.— Mana Yegani (@Law_Mana) August 1, 2018
A lawyer who is in touch with the family is saying the child who died, her grandmother is in New Jersey. Reporters are in touch with her to get more details.— Mana Yegani (@Law_Mana) August 1, 2018
This is a statement from the attorney who informed me of this tragic death. She a friend of the victim's family and she is the one in touch with them. I don't have any direct contact with the victim's family. See below the image of her message that was posted on Facebook. pic.twitter.com/ISOCRQBend— Mana Yegani (@Law_Mana) August 1, 2018
On Wednesday morning, Yagani resumed her updates:
Last night a lawyer in Wash DC, posted on FB, seeking recommendations for a lawyer to represent a family whose child died AFTER her stay at Dilley Detention Cntr in TX. I made the news public.I am in touch with Melissa-the lawyer, but have no confirmation from the victim's family— Mana Yegani (@Law_Mana) August 1, 2018
Also on Monday morning, ICE sent out a tweet denying the claims:
Reports that a child died in ICE custody at Dilley are false.— ICE (@ICEgov) August 1, 2018
Notice that ICE only denies that the child didn’t die while in their custody at the detention center—which we already knew. However, they don’t deny that the child died after she left the detention center, and they make no mention of negligent medical care. Yagani had already clarified her statements to indicate that the child allegedly died after she was released from ICE custody. Is ICE trying to avoid their possible involvement with a child’s death based on semantics? Yagani went on to claim that a possible cause of death was “negligent care and a respiratory illness she contracted from one of the other children.” ICE’s denials didn’t mention this or the quality of the medical care provided in their Dilley detention center.
Recent reports reveal that in the past few years, half of the deaths that take place in ICE custody are most likely caused by inadequate medical care. ICE can’t weasel their way around those statistics.