The Times podcast: ICE released dying detainees, avoiding responsibility

A photo of Johana Medina Leon in her mother’s house in El Salvador.
(Victor Pena)

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which detains hundreds of thousands of people nationwide, typically says fewer than a dozen detainees die in its custody each year. But if the agency releases a person in dire health, they’re not in custody when they die — so ICE doesn’t need to count that death.


Today, L.A. Times immigration reporter Andrea Castillo tells the stories of two people who were abruptly released by ICE just days before their deaths and pulls back the curtain on the system that allows this to happen. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guest: L.A. Times immigration reporter Andrea Castillo

More reading:

ICE rushed to release a sick woman, avoiding responsibility for her death. She isn’t alone

‘Egregious’ conditions at ICE facility spark watchdog call for relocation of detainees

Immigration officials created network that can spy on majority of Americans, report says

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, senior producers Denise Guerra, Shannon Lin and Kasia Broussalian and producers David Toledo, Ashlea Brown and Angel Carreras. Our engineers are Mario Diaz and Mark Nieto. Our editor is Kinsee Morlan. Our executive producers are Jazmín Aguilera and Shani O. Hilton. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.