Asylum Seeker with Type 1 Deported to El Salvador

An asylum seeker with Type 1 diabetes has been deported to El Salvador after she withdrew her request for asylum out of fear for her health while in detention, according to Bethany Carson, an immigration policy researcher with Grassroots Leadership.

While previous reports of this situation have given the asylum seeker’s name, Carson says the woman is now requesting anonymity. Carson has not disclosed why the woman was seeking asylum after leaving El Salvador, but she did say that women often request asylum from that country because of endemic gang violence, domestic violence, and sexual violence.

Several immigrant rights’ advocacy groups sounded the alarm about the woman’s medical care while in detention after she approached volunteers and made repeated accusations that she was not receiving proper care for her Type 1 diabetes at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas. She also claimed that she was warned by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers that she wouldn’t receive as good of care while in detention as she would in El Salvador, and that she was reprimanded for sharing medical information with outside advocates. The medical logs shared by advocates showed chronically high glucose levels throughout much of June, ranging from 232 mg/dL to 452 mg/dL. The woman said that detention officers accused her of being non-compliant.

ICE did not provide comment to Insulin Nation on this detainee’s case. However, ICE did provide a statement to reporter Mike Riggs, who shared it via email. The statement, forwarded on July 11th by Riggs, simply said that the woman “is receiving medical care that is consistent with the requisite standard of care for people with her condition.”

The woman said she received better diabetes care when she was initially detained at the Laredo Detention Center before being transferred to the Hutto Detention Center. In late June, she went before a judge to withdraw her request for asylum with the hope that she would be transferred back to the Laredo facility and quickly deported. Carson said that the transfer did occur and she did receive better medical care and better food while at Laredo. The woman was then put on a flight to El Salvador where she was met at the airport by her family doctor and her mother. She is reported to be in better health now that she has returned to El Salvador.

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Craig Idlebrook is a past editor for Insulin Nation, Type 2 Nation, and Información Sobre Diabetes. He is now the community engagement and content manager for T1D Exchange.

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