Amid a media-inflamed firestorm over President Trump’s “zero tolerance” illegal immigration policy and an Obama-era Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that forces illegal immigrant parents to be temporarily separated from their children, several outlets have provided a number of unfortunate flashbacks to the Obama administration’s jam-packed immigrant detention centers (like these four).
On Wednesday, the Drudge Report provided another one: The tragic case of Roberto Aguilar Batista, 38, whose family sued President Barack Obama and multiple federal agencies after Batista died from complications of diabetes while being held in one of the administration’s ill-equipped detention centers.
In a report published August 29, 2014, CBS2 Los Angeles provided some of the details of the case (formatting adjusted):
At a news conference Friday, attended by CBS2’s Amy Johnson, [Nancy] Luna said her husband had Type 2 diabetes, and his care was neglected. He was held at the Metropolitan Detention Center, among other places.
Last March, Roberto Aguilar Batista, 38, died from complications of diabetes at the Dalby Correctional Facility.
“It’s so tough, because he was so young,” said Batista’s niece Esmeralda Aguilar. She said her uncle was constantly writing letters. “He was letting [his wife] know it was really tough in there. That he didn’t want to be in there,” said Aguilar.
According to CBS2, Batista had lived in the Los Angeles area for 10 years with his wife and two daughters before being arrested in June 2013 on suspicion of entering the country illegally. While at the Metropolitan Detention Center, Batista and his family claimed in written correspondence that he was denied necessary care to treat his diabetes, resulting in kidney damage, a heart attack, and eventually blindness. He was allegedly moved to three different facilities during his ultimately deadly detention.
In response, Batista’s family filed a civil rights complaint against the president, DHS, ICE, the DOJ and both the Metropolitan Detention Center and the Giles Dalby Correctional Facility.
NBC4 Los Angeles reported at the time (formatting adjusted):
A month before his death, Bautista wrote a letter from prison pleading for help, said Segall-Gutierrez, who provided NBC4 a copy translated from Spanish. “I find myself in this new institution in Texas and they are not giving me proper medical attention for my health problems,” Bautista’s letter reads in part.
The defendants named in the suit include ICE, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and President Barack Obama. None have been served yet. Obama “was responsible for assuring that the actions, conduct, policies, procedures, and customs of the…(other) defendants…complied with the Constitution of the United States,” is the suit’s explanation for his inclusion in the case.
While the family was able to voice their grievance publicly through local reports of their complaint, they did not get much national attention nor the justice they sought.