Miami, FL — Immigrant rights organizations, including Florida Immigrant Coalition, Southern Poverty Law Center and Detention Watch Network, are demanding an immediate investigation and public release of the findings on the death of Luis Ramirez-Marcano. Cuban immigrant Ramirez-Marcano, 59, died on February 19 while in the custody of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after being detained at the Krome Detention Center in Florida.
“We demand to know the circumstances that led to the deaths of these detainees,” said Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director of Florida Immigrant Coalition. “We will not stand for the inhumane treatment of our immigrant communities, who are being harassed and criminalized. The Krome Detention Center has a long history of detainee abuse, with reports of a significant increase after it began privatization in 2008.”
Since 2003, 179 people have died in immigrant detention – Ramirez-Marcano’s passing marks the third 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.
“This tragic passing comes just three weeks after the death of Yulio Castro-Garrido in a Georgia immigrant detention center,” said Lisa Graybill, Deputy Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “The continued rise of deaths in detention is a grim reminder of the inhumane and unjust treatment that people face while in ICE custody and the lack of transparency about these conditions.”
The family of Castro-Garrido recently hired an attorney to investigate what happened to him while in detention, as ICE’s investigations into detention deaths lack urgency and transparency and take place in a culture of whitewashed inspections that do little to nothing to prompt accountability and critical change.
“ICE is emboldened to be less transparent, unaccountable and act with increased impunity under a racist Trump administration,” said Barbara Suarez Galeano, Organizer at Detention Watch Network. “While people are dying in immigration detention, Trump is simultaneously proposing the expansion of immigration detention and growing the failed ICE agency. We demand that both Ramirez-Marcano’s and Castro-Garrido’s deaths be swiftly investigated, for those findings to be made public and for ICE to be held accountable.”
The Florida Immigrant Coalition is a statewide alliance of over 60 member organizations, including farmworkers, students, service providers, grassroots organizations and legal advocates, who come together for the fair treatment of all people.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Alabama with offices in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. For more information, see www.splcenter.org.
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 www.detentionwatchnetwork.org. Follow @DetentionWatch.