A transgender immigrant in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention had to wait 13 days for medical attention after telling staff at the privately-run detention center that she was bleeding from her rectum, according to an Aug. 2019 email obtained by BuzzFeed News. When the woman housed in New Mexico’s Cibola County Correctional Center was finally tested, it was determined she had HIV. The Aug. 2019 email, written by an official from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, also raised concerns about the facility’s other health issues—like immigrants waiting up to 17 days for care and those with chronic conditions not getting their medicines. According to the email, advisers also said Cibola’s transgender unit was not “appropriately cleaned and sanitized.” A portion of the detainees, including 27 trans women and 15 others with medical issues, were transferred out of Cibola five months after the Aug. 2019 email.
ICE spokesperson April Grant said the agency was “committed to ensuring that those in our custody reside in secure, humane environments and under appropriate conditions of confinement.” CoreCivic, a private prison company that operates Cibola, said the detainees with “unique medical needs” were transferred out of the facility. The company also noted that another company, Wellpath, provided the medical care at the facility at the time. Wellpath said they were “unable to comment as to the care provided in this case” due to “federal privacy laws.”