For Immediate Release
Feb. 2, 2016
Immigrant Rights Groups File Civil Rights Complaint: ICE nearly castrates grandfather in detention & now tries to deport him to likely death in Guatemala
Hyrum, UT—Yesterday, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), and the attorneys at the Thomas Rome Law Group filed a complaint with DHS' Office for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties regarding the extreme medical abuse against 55-year-old Angel Rosa (A 028-620-363).
Starting in April 2012, Mr. Rosa was detained by ICE for over two years at the Utah County Jail. He was locked in a cell with exposed sewage and prevented from showering, leading to a severe and painful testicular infection. Despite pleas, ICE denied Angel medical care until the infection spread throughout his body, caused his rectum to swell shut, and produced a massive intestinal infection. Only the begging of other detained people resulted in him being allowed to see a doctor. Immediately, he was transferred to a hospital. With the strong possibility of him requiring surgical castration, ICE released him from detention and left him to fend for himself with this medical condition and all the expenses. Since then he has experienced recurring infections and was left sterilized.
On the morning of January 15, 2016, ICE agents raided Angel's home and detained him at the same facility where he nearly died. Today, ICE is threatening to deport him at any moment. Immigrant rights groups have circulated a petition to fight his deportation under the hashtag #SterilizedByICE.
Angel has lived in the U.S. for many years, making his home in Utah with his wife Lorena, their five children (four U.S. citizens and one green-card holder), and six U.S. citizen grandchildren. He is a loving and devoted father in a close-knit family. After an unfortunate incident about 15 years ago where prescription medication reacted badly with alcohol and the police were called, he has been completely sober.
Thomas Rome, Managing Attorney, the Thomas Rome Law Group: "Angel Rosa's case is one of the most disturbing our office has ever encountered. And though not unique in a contract jail system where many dubious practices persist, Angel's case somehow tears a hole in your soul. And this is no longer about adding 'insult to injury.' It's a death sentence. We're calling on ICE to exercise humanitarian discretion to save a life, to keep a father united with his five U.S. citizen children. At the very least, we ask ICE to investigate the matter thoroughly, to stay Angel's removal until the investigation can be concluded and to give this family some hope."
Christina Fialho, Co-Executive Director of Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement: "Instead of addressing human rights abuses and lack of medical care, ICE has adopted a head in the sand approach by denying that these problems exist. In Mr. Rosa's case, neglect and abuse have collided, and ICE has wrongly decided that deportation is the solution."
Clara Long, Researcher at Human Rights Watch: "We have spoken with Mr. Rosa and his family and reviewed some of his medical records. The evidence that we've reviewed so far raises grave concerns over the medical care he received while in ICE detention."
Mark Reid, Senior Paralegal, the Thomas Rome Law Group (who has spearheaded the firm's work on this case on Mr. Rosa's behalf): "Angel Rosa deserves to live, not die. There is evidence he contracted this life-threatening disease in ICE custody through the agency's negligence, at a contract facility where another detainee died during the same year. Removing him to Guatemala now, as ICE seeks to do, would be a tragic end to an already devastating chain of events for his loving family."
Lorena Rosa, Angel's 18-year-old daughter: "My dad is my hero. Words are not invented to express how much this man means to me. When I tried to go see him at the hospital when he originally got sick, they didn't let us because they said he was still a prisoner. They had him hand-cuffed to the bed when he got out of surgery. Because of ICE, my Dad wasn't there for my first day of high school. Now he might not see his little girl graduate. No one will know the feeling and depression I went through that is now starting all over again. But my dad is an amazing father. I'm proud to be his daughter. He has given me the strength to keep on living. If he passes away in Guatemala, I wouldn't forgive myself for being so many miles away from him. He needs us, just like I need him."