Mexico-born Jose J. Cervantes-Corona was 42 when he died at the Northwest Detention Center 21 months ago. We never heard about it, but his death at the Tacoma tideflats facility is now suspected of having been preventable.
Cervantes-Corona is named in recently released and published documents showing how many "detainees" have died in U.S. immigration prisons: The New York Times last week reported that 66 names are listed in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data from 2004 to 2007, while the Washington Post this week reported 83 have died between 2003 and 2008.
Both papers refer to Cervantes-Corona as Jesus, and his death as Nov. 18, 2006, but a Pierce County death index lists him as Jose J. and his death a day later. The Post, in the ongoing series, has not yet explained why his death may have been avoided, but the New York Times/ICE document shows Cervantes-Corona died from coronary artery disease at 42. In addition, the Post has a copy of an Immigration Health Service list showing how much money the government saved by refusing to give potenntial life-threatening treatment for a litany of ailments including chest pain.
Altogether, denying treatment in 329 cases over one year, the government saved $1.3 million. The government's data does not reveal how many of those denials led to deaths. But the Post lists Carvantes-Corona's death as one of 30 thought to have been preventable.