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Enforcement and Removal

Detainee passes away at South Carolina hospital

COLUMBIA, S.C. - On Sept. 30, Ruben Sandoval, a 21-year-old Guatemalan national being held pending immigration removal proceedings, passed away at the Providence Memorial Hospital (PMH) in Columbia, S.C., due to cardiopulmonary arrest as a result of metastatic cancer.

Mr. Sandoval entered ICE custody on May 7, 2009, in Omaha, Neb. He was served with a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge and his bail was set at $2,500. At the time of his arrest, Mr. Sandoval stated that he had no known medical conditions. However, on May 7, the day of his arrest, jail officials and medical staff observed that Mr. Sandoval was having difficultly breathing and took him to the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) for evaluation.

Mr. Sandoval was subsequently diagnosed with having a malignant tumor around his airway and heart and began receiving chemotherapy at UNMC. On June 15, Mr. Sandoval was transferred to Columbia Care Center (CCC) in Columbia, S.C., for continued, long-term treatment.

Mr. Sandoval was able to see an immigration judge via video teleconferencing (VTC) while he was at CCC. On Sept. 15, 2009, Mr. Sandoval's hearing was held via VTC and he filed for asylum

On Sept. 30 Mr. Sandoval was transferred to PMH due to his deteriorating condition and passed away the same day.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have notified the Guatemalan Consulate and Mr. Sandoval's family. Consistent with ICE protocol, the appropriate state health and local law enforcement agencies have been notified.