Melvin Calero's family travels to the US for the body of a migrant

Melvin Calero’s family travels to the US for the body of a migrant

The family of Nicaraguan Melvin Ariel Calero Mendoza, who died a month ago in a detention center for asylum seekers, will travel to the US state of Colorado to request the body of the migrant, the American Friends Services Committee (AFSC) confirmed on Tuesday. who takes steps to clarify the reasons for death.

The announcement was added to a campaign to raise funds both for the return of the body to Nicaragua and for the benefit of Calero’s mother and children, said Jennifer Piper, of AFSC. The campaign has so far raised about $3,000 of the $10,000 requested.

“Like many others seeking asylum, Melvin was unnecessarily detained for five and a half months instead of being released to be with his loved ones in the United States (his brothers) and to appear in court and seek legal representation,” the leader said. .

Related news: Bodies of two migrants who died in the Rio Grande arrive in Nicaragua

Calero, 39, died on October 13 at a hospital in Aurora (a suburb east of Denver) to which he was transferred after it was determined that he was suffering from a “medical emergency” in his cell inside the detention center operated by the firm GEO Group and supervised by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) of the United States.

According to the report published by ICE on October 18, Calero’s health problem was detected at 10:49 am on October 13 and the guards immediately offered assistance. Three minutes later, GEO personnel called the emergency number 911, and paramedics arrived at 11:13 am.

Two minutes later, the migrant was taken to the Hospital of the University of Colorado, where he died shortly after 12:30 pm.

Melvin Ariel Calero Mendoza

Calero’s family maintains that the man was in good health and “remained active and had no pre-existing negative health conditions.”

The ICE report confirms that when Calero underwent seven medical and psychological examinations upon entering the detention center (between April 16 and May 5, 2022), none of those examinations detected health problems.

However, on May 21, Calero complained of vision problems. On September 1, he was treated for pain in his right foot and high blood pressure.

Related news: Nicaraguan regime “has not lifted a finger” to repatriate bodies of migrants who died in the US

The same thing happened on September 12 and 29, when the Nicaraguan’s “decreased ability to move his right leg” was detected, who only received painkillers and an ice pack to soothe his “muscle and bone pain.”

The official report does not detail when or how Calero entered the United States or if his asylum request was formally completed. It also does not include details about what was the “medical emergency” that led to his death.

At the same time, a study conducted last February by the Rocky Mountain Immigration Lawyers Network (RMIAN) on medical treatment at the GEO Group detention center found, based on interviews with former inmates, that prison staff frequently deny treatment of detainees.

According to RMIAN, it is very possible that something similar happened with Calero.

In late October, the two US Senators from Colorado, Michael Bennett and John Hickenlooper (both Democrats), formally called for the US Inspector’s Office to investigate the case. The status of those investigations is unknown.

In this context, on October 19, the Court of the Tenth Federal District (based in Denver) determined that federal laws do not protect private contractors (such as GEO) from lawsuits against them. That ruling allows several lawsuits to proceed, including one representing some 40,000 immigrants. EFE

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