LUMPKIN, Ga. (WTVM) - News Leader 9 is digging deeper into the death of a man from Mexico at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin while he was in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Pedro Arriago-Santoya arrived at the Stewart Detention Center on July 10. Ten days later, he reportedly complained of abdominal pain. Four days after that, he was dead.
Arriago-Santoya is the seventh person to pass away while in ICE custody.
“I wish I could say I was surprised, but I really wasn’t," said immigration attorney Marty Rosenbluth.
Rosenbluth is the only immigration attorney in Lumpkin, where Arriago-Santoya was detained in the Stewart Detention Center. He said clients tell him all the time how their health concerns aren’t taken seriously.
However, a statement from CoreCivic, who owns the detention center, reads Arriago-Santoya was transferred to a hospital the same day as his original complaint. They say no foul play is suspected.
A spokesperson from ICE said “fatalities in ICE custody occur approximately 100 times less often than they do in both federal and state custody nationwide.”
One woman in Lumpkin, who did not wish to be interviewed, put together a memorial site for the man she had never met. She said he was a human and deserved better treatment than what he received. She even said there is vigil in the works.
“This is probably one of the worst immigration detention centers in the country," Rosenbluth said. "I’ve been down here for two and a half years now full-time, and I think this is the third or fourth death in detention I’ve seen down here.”
A statement from CoreCivic’s Public Affairs Director, Amanda Gilchrist reads:
You can find ICE’s full press release here.
This is the additional information an ICE spokesperson provided via email: