Second death in Arizona detention centers in just a month as Trump looks to expand the system through an expedited funding request

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Phoenix, AZ — Detention Watch Network, Indivisible Project and Faith in Action’s immigrants’ rights program, LA RED are demanding an immediate investigation and public release of the findings related to the death of Simratpal Singh. Singh, 21, died on May 3 while in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody after being detained at the La Paz County Jail. This is the second death to occur in ICE custody in the state of Arizona within the last month and the sixth death to occur in ICE detention in Fiscal Year 2019.

“This tragedy must be investigated and the Trump administration needs to be held accountable,” said Angel Padilla, the Indivisible Project’s national policy director. “Congress also has a duty to end these fatal practices by defunding the administration’s inhumane detention complex and deportation machine.”

Since 2003, 191 people have died in immigrant detention. Recent investigations into deaths in immigration detention, Code Red: The Fatal Consequences of Dangerously Substandard Medical Care 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.

“Immigration detention is fatal,” said Richard Morales, Policy and Program Director, Faith in Action’s immigrants’ rights program, LA RED. "ICE repeatedly puts lives in jeopardy with inadequate medical care, including delayed attention. We oppose any increase in detention funding for the administration. With increased detention we fully expect more death and abuse at the hands of ICE. Congress needs to increase oversight and decrease funding for mass detention.”

Singh’s tragic death follows a recent request by the Trump administration to grow the deadly detention system with a $4.5 billion supplemental funding package. The expedited funding request, to increase resources yet again for this fiscal year, will expand the already massive immigration enforcement apparatus that tears apart families, further militarizes our southern border, and violates human rights with impunity.

“Congress must say no to Trump’s agenda to maximize harm to those arriving at the border by building and expanding deadly immigration detention jails,” said Barbara Suarez Galeano, National Organizer with Detention Watch Network. “More money to increase the number of people caged is not the solution. An unfettered growth of immigrant detention only serves to exacerbate ICE and CBP's long history of human rights abuses. As the death toll continues to rise, the detention systems needs to be defunded not bankrolled.”


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 Follow @DetentionWatch.

Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 46 local and state federations. For more information, visit Faith in Action is a 501c(3).  Faith in Action and its affiliates are non-partisan and are not aligned explicitly or implicitly with any candidate or party. We do not endorse or support candidates for office.

The Indivisible Project is a registered 501(c)(4) nonprofit. Our mission is to cultivate and lift up a grassroots movement of local groups to defeat the Trump agenda, elect progressive leaders, and realize bold progressive policies. Across the nation, thousands of local groups are using the Indivisible Guide to hold their members of Congress accountable. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee. Follow Indivisible at @IndivisibleTeam and contact press at