Rep. Gosar: Cautiously Optimistic about ICE Decision Not to Release Detained Illegal with Drug Resistant Tuberculosis into AZ Community

For Immediate Release

Date: April 7, 2015

Contact: Steven D. Smith

Steven.Smith@mail.house.gov

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after federal officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  put out a public statement following a request from Rep. Gosar and several Arizona colleagues demanding that a detained illegal immigrant with a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis (TB), not be released into Pinal County Arizona:

“I applaud ICE for hearing the concerns of my colleagues and me and deciding against releasing an illegal immigrant with drug resistant tuberculosis into the Pinal County Community this week. I am cautiously optimistic as a result of ICE’s statements that officials are now planning to take appropriate steps to protect Arizonans from being exposed to this fatal, infectious disease. It is inconceivable that releasing an illegal immigrant that could cause a tuberculosis pandemic here in the U.S. would ever be considered as a possible option. I will continue to closely monitor this situation and will continue to do everything in my power to prevent illegal immigrants with deadly viruses from being let loose in our communities.”

Background

Last week, Pinal County Director of Public Health Thomas Schryer was notified that ICE was expected to release an illegal immigrant with drug resistant TB into the Pinal County Community. To read Director Schryer’s full letter raising concern about these potential actions click HERE.

On Friday April 3, 2015 Congressman Gosar was joined by Senators John McCainJeff Flake, and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in demanding that ICE not release an illegal immigrant with drug resistant tuberculosis into the Pinal County Community.

To read the full letter sent to Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldaña click HERE.

Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe, ICE Public Affairs Officer/Spokesman, released the following statement on April 6, 2015:
“At this time, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has no plans to release this person from custody. Due to multiple previous repatriations, including a formal removal in 2013, the individual is an ICE enforcement priority. The detainee remains at Florence Detention Center pending a decision by an immigration judge regarding any request for a bond and whether the detainee will remain in the U.S. or be removed.

In order to protect this individual’s right to privacy, ICE is not releasing the person’s name.

On background (from ICE):

  • All detainees and facility employees who had contact with this individual - prior to the patient being placed in quarantine in ICE detention - have been tested for TB, with the preliminary results showing no transmission of TB.
  • ICE detainees receive timely and appropriate responses to all medical requests, and timely medical care.
  • Any detainee found to have a medical condition that requires follow-up treatment is scheduled for as many appointments as needed, including visits to outside medical providers or facilities.
  • ICE healthcare policy requires that all detainees receive an initial health screening immediately upon arrival at a facility to determine the appropriate medical, mental health, and/or dental treatment that is needed.
  • All detainees receive a chest X-ray within 12 hours of arrival to screen for tuberculosis during the intake process.

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