WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — An asylum seeker and mother of a child who died after being held in ICE custody testified before lawmakers Wednesday.
Yazmine Juarez is suing the government for $60 million in a wrongful death suit. She told a panel of lawmakers that the death of her daughter tore a piece of her heart.
She said she brought her 19-month-old to the United States seeking asylum but instead, her daughter Maree died after being detained for weeks in a migrant detention center in Dilley, Texas.
Juarez told lawmakers Maree suffered from high fevers and didn’t get the proper medical treatment while in custody.
Once released, Juarez took her to the hospital but Maree never recovered. She died a few weeks later.
The hearing highlighted the widespread problems within immigration facilities and included clips from those who’ve visited the centers.
“The first thing that hit us was the smell, the smell of sweat urine and feces,” said Dr. Sara Goza, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Juarez said the world needs to know what’s happening to many children in ICE jails. The hearing was called “Kids in Cages” and Juarez said she decided to testify to prevent more kids from dying.
“I’ve been to the border many times and to this day I’ve never seen a kid in a cage the way those words seem to indicate it,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly denied that there are poor conditions in migrant detention centers.