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California Could Tighten Reporting Requirements for Migrant Deaths in Custody

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Imprisoned immigrants are seen at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Adelanto Detention Facility on September 6th, 2016, in Adelanto, California.

A bill making its way through the California legislature would require Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities to immediately report in-custody deaths to the state’s attorney general. The California Department of Justice would then investigate the circumstances and cause of the immigrant’s death

State Senator Maria Elena Durazo introduced the bill, SB 622, in February. Last week, on May 23rd—a day after a CBS News report revealed that a migrant child had died in government custody in September, though the federal government did not publicly announce her death at the time—the bill passed in the California senate. It now awaits a vote in the state assembly.

The fact that it took eight months for the public to discover that Darlyn Valle, a 10-year-old from El Salvador, had died in government custody raised concerns that there could have been more migrant children deaths than are publicly known. As of now, the government has released details of six migrant child deaths since September of 2018. Prior to that month, it had been over a decade since a migrant child had died in federal government custody. 

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