Yazmin Juárez is suing private prison company CoreCivic over the death of her 1-year-old daughter Mariee. The complaint filed in federal court in San Antonio, Texas, on Wednesday demands $40 million from private prison company CoreCivic.
According to Juárez’s lawyers, Mariee developed a respiratory infection at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement family detention center that CoreCivic operates in Dilley, Texas. The lawyers said that her fever reached 104.2 degrees Fahrenheit, but that the medical staff at the facility failed to treat her.
In May 2018, six weeks after Mariee and Yazmin Juárez were released from the ICE facility at Dilley, Mariee suffered a hemorrhage and died.
Juárez said that she crossed the border in 2018, having fled a dangerous situation in Guatemala.
Earlier this month, Juárez explained the devastation she experienced during a House Oversight subcommittee hearing: “We came to the United States,” she said in Spanish, “where I hoped to build a better and safer life for us. Instead, I watched my baby girl die slowly and painfully — just a few months before her second birthday.”
She said: “We made this journey because we feared for our lives. The trip was dangerous, but I was more afraid of what might happen to us if we stayed. So we came to the United States where I hoped to build a better, safer life for us. Unfortunately, that did not happen.”
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) told reporters at the time: “This is unjust and un-America. And it is cruel.”
“No family should be criminalized for seeking safety,” she said.
Stanton Jones, a lawyer for Juárez, said about the CoreCivic lawsuit: “We don’t believe that it’s ever appropriate to jail small children. At a minimum, if CoreCivic is making huge amounts of money to run a jail for children, there are legal duties that come with that.”
CoreCivic spokeswoman Amanda Gilchrist said in a statement: “We care about every person entrusted to us, especially vulnerable populations for which our partners rightfully have very high standards that we work hard to meet each day,”
Last year, Juárez’s lawyers filed a wrongful death claim, seeking $60 million from the U.S. government because they failed to provide her daughter with medical care. In February, they sued the city of Eloy, Arizona for $40 million. Eloy officially operated the Dilley facility through a lucrative passthrough deal.
According to CoreCivic’s financial statements, the company made $171 million from the Dilley detention center in the past year.