Marisol Mendoza has Covid-19. She’s short of breath, coughs and feels pain in her back and chest. She doesn’t have the energy to stand up or eat much. She’s scared she will die, alone, in an isolation cell of the immigration detention center where she’s been held for the past four years.
“Sometimes I think that Ice wants to release me when I’m dead, because they won’t do it any other way,” the 47-year-old Mexican national told the Guardian over the phone on Monday.
Mendoza was detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) in 2016 and is held in the Eloy detention center in central Arizona.She has type 2 diabetes and takes medication for depression.
As the Covid-19 pandemic hit the US in March, Mendoza sued Ice and CoreCivic, the private contractor that runs the facility, arguing she should be released from detention given the threat of the virus and her pre-existing health condition. Instead, in a 19 May ruling, a federal judge ordered Ice to improve her conditions and make them constitutional.
Ice did not follow all the court orders, and within two and a half weeks of the judge’s ruling, Mendoza tested positive for Covid-19.