The following is an email I sent to ICE press office.

Good afternoon,

I’m a freelance journalist and editor of Latterly magazine, and I have several questions regarding the information in this article about the detention of Sara Beltran-Hernandez.

1. Why was Ms. Beltran-Hernandez detained?

2. Does Ms. Beltran-Hernandez represent a threat to the safety of Americans? If so, why?

3. Where is she being held?

4. Does she have brain cancer, and if so is she receiving any medical treatment?

5. In the article, the family spokeswoman says Ms. Beltran-Hernandez is bleeding but is not being taken to the hospital. Is that true?

6. Is there anything in the article that’s inaccurate?

7. What is ICE’s policy regarding detainees with medical emergencies?

8. Why was Ms. Beltran-Hernandez targeted for detention?

9. If Ms. Beltran-Hernandez dies in ICE custody, what procedures would follow?

10. If Ms. Beltran-Hernandez becomes critically ill in custody or on her deportation flight to El Salvador, what are ICE’s procedures?

11. Why was Ms. Beltran-Hernandez held for more than a year at Prairieland Detention Center?

12. Why was Ms. Beltran-Hernandez “tied up from hands and ankles,” as her spokeswoman says?

13. Has ICE removed other undocumented immigrants from medical facilities in the middle of their treatment?

14. Was Ms. Beltran-Hernandez able to bring any prescribed medication with her to detention?

15. Is ICE concerned about liability if Ms. Beltran-Hernandez dies in custody?

16. Has ICE begun deportation proceedings against Ms. Beltran-Hernandez?

17. Has Ms. Beltran-Hernandez requested asylum in the United States?
Thank you for your prompt attention to these questions.

Ben Wolford

UPDATE 12:28 p.m. AST 2/23/17

ICE spokeswoman Danielle Bennett just sent me this form response, which ignores most of my questions. I sent another email asking her to answer my other questions.


Ms. Beltran-Hernandez was discharged from the hospital on Feb. 22 and returned to ICE custody at the Prairieland Detention Center in Alvarado, Texas. During her stay at the hospital, ICE ensured that she was able to speak to her family and to her attorney by phone. Like all detainees in our care, Ms. Beltran will continue to have access to 24 hour emergency medical care and to any required specialized treatment at an outside facility.

Due to strict HIPAA provisions, we cannot comment on resident’s individual health records without their permission.

ICE takes very seriously the health, safety and welfare of those in our care. Comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment the families arrive and throughout their entire stay at the facility. Medical staffing for the residents includes registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, licensed mental health providers, mid-level providers that include a physician’s assistant and nurse practitioner, a physician, dental care, and access to 24-hour emergency care. For medical care that cannot be addressed by the on-site medical staff, the center will make arrangements for a resident’s specialized treatment at an outside facility.

UPDATE 3:56 p.m. AST 2/23/17

Bennett just responded to my request for further information. I’ll follow up here with a story soon.

Ben Wolford
Ben Wolford is editor of Latterly. His reporting has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, The Christian Science Monitor and elsewhere.