US: A suburban Chicago man was diagnosed with cancer while in prison. Now ICE is deporting him to Mexico. - PressFrom - US

USA suburban Chicago man was diagnosed with cancer while in prison. Now ICE is deporting him to Mexico.

00:50  21 april  2019
00:50  21 april  2019 Source:

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A suburban Chicago man was diagnosed with cancer while in prison. Now ICE is deporting him to Mexico.© Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: A law enforcement officer walks past ICE logo ahead of a press conference on Thursday, May 11, 2017, at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Washington, DC. CHICAGO - The family of Luis Ugalde-Pacheco worried that he would die in immigration custody. Now they fear he will die in a country he barely knows.

Ugalde-Pacheco, 28, who was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, was deported to Mexico on Friday, according to his attorney. He'd called Chicago's southwest suburbs home since he was about 7 years old when he came to the United States illegally with his father, said Lourdes Cristina Pacheco, his mother.

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In March, he was placed into the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which began deportation proceedings. That was after he completed a two-year prison sentence for felony convictions of intimidation and aggravated battery for threatening and pushing a woman.

It was at the end of that prison stint that he was diagnosed with cancer, according to medical records provided by his attorney. Since then, his advocates have fought for him to receive medical treatment for his lymphoma, which they say ICE did not provide.

But their efforts shifted abruptly this week when they learned that ICE planned to swiftly deport him to Mexico, which apparently happened on Friday, though the immigration agency did not confirm that.

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ICE ERO officers deporting a man to Mexico . ERO is responsible for enforcing the nation's ICE -HSI has played a key role in investigating and arresting citizens suspected of possessing and distributing Young Sook Kim died at the New Mexico Regional Jail in Albuquerque of pancreatic cancer in

Thursday, his mother and his girlfriend, Elida Arriaga, rushed to Kankakee County Jail, where ICE was holding Ugalde-Pacheco, to drop off a bag of clothing for him. His mother - worried about where exactly her son will end up and whether she will see him again - shed tears outside the jail.

She said she's been scrambling to find any relative in Mexico who can help her son once he arrives. The family is originally from Temascalcingo, more than 600 miles south of the U.S. border. Ugalde-Pacheco hadn't been back to Mexico since the family migrated to the Chicago area about 20 years ago.

"I feel helpless, I feel desperation," Pacheco said in Spanish. "What did I do to God? What did I do in life? Why did it have to be my son?"

ICE declined to comment about whether Ugalde-Pacheco received medical treatment in custody. The agency pointed to its detention standards, which say immigrants are supposed to receive medical screenings within 12 hours of detention, be given care based on their needs and have access to 24-hour emergency care.

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In a statement, an ICE spokesperson noted that Ugalde-Pacheco was taken into the agency's custody after serving his prison sentence. It's not uncommon for ICE to deport noncitizens with felony convictions.

Clara Long, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, worked on a report published last summer about medical care in immigration detention centers. She believes detained immigrants should receive access to adequate health care as a basic human right.

The report found that those detained with complex medical conditions experienced delays in getting referrals for medical care from specialists, which typically have to be approved by an official in Washington, D.C., Long said.

The study cited the case of Raul Ernesto Morales Ramos, who had been diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer and died while in ICE custody. He was in detention for two years, but he didn't see a doctor until about a month before he died, according to the report.

Long said that's an example "of the kind of disregard that we found in the system for actually responding to these health and safety issues."

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No one disputes that prison care saves lives and often treats people who might not otherwise be treated. Many who end up imprisoned are too poor to get adequate health care on the outside. He was diagnosed with cancer in April 2013; doctors currently expect him to live another three months.

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Ugalde-Pacheco, who is the father of two young children, was diagnosed with cancer while still in the custody of IDOC following his conviction in Will County. On Tuesday - a month after he was placed in ICE detention - he saw an oncologist, who told him he has six months to live, said his attorney, Amina Najib.

She had filed a request seeking Ugalde-Pacheco's conditional release due to a serious medical condition, arguing he doesn't pose a threat because of his illness. The request was denied, and Ugalde-Pacheco waived his right to appeal a deportation order, Najib said.

"He ultimately can't take it anymore," she said. "He's afraid he might end up dying in (detention)."

Najib said she thinks Ugalde-Pacheco's case is a direct result of President Donald Trump's immigration policies, which give officials little room to exercise discretion when deciding if someone should be allowed to stay in the country.

To Najib, Ugalde-Pacheco's deportation seems rushed compared with past cases she's handled. She believes the severity of his illness might actually have hastened his deportation.

"It serves our government if they can get him out of detention as quickly as possible because then he's not a liability anymore. Right now he is," Najib said.

Pacheco has kept in touch with her son by phone and recalled him saying he felt like his body was on fire.

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"If I leave, I'm going to die on the outside," Pacheco said her son told her. "If I stay, I'll die inside. I know the problem with cancer that I have, and they aren't doing anything."

His current legal troubles started in May 2017 when he was charged in a domestic violence case involving a female relative. She obtained an order of protection against Ugalde-Pacheco in Will County, and he was later charged with violating the order by sending her a text message, according to court records.

He was ordered to complete domestic violence counseling, court records show. Ugalde-Pacheco was taken into ICE custody around that time, but he was released after posting a $4,000 bond, according to his attorney's petition.

Ugalde-Pacheco's later stint in prison resulted from different domestic violence allegations from March 2018 involving another woman. She, too, sought an order of protection against Ugalde-Pacheco, and he was later charged with violating that order by texting her a photo, according to court records.

On Aug. 20, 2018, Ugalde-Pacheco pleaded guilty to felony charges of intimidation and aggravated battery, records show. He admitted to following the woman to her job, showing her a gun, threatening to shoot her if she called police and pushing her, according to court records.

As his deportation loomed, his loved ones worried about whether he will have access to medical treatment in Mexico - and whether they'll ever see him again.

"I think everyone deserves a chance to ... stay here," Arriaga said, "the chance to live."


(The Chicago Tribune's Zbigniew Bzdak contributed.)

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