Federal civil rights officials have opened an investigation into the case of a teenage mother who was abruptly deported after attempting suicide in early June.
The investigation comes as her attorney has requested that the Department of Justice pursue criminal charges against the immigration officials who were in charge of her and her 4-year-old son’s care.
Lilian Oliva Bardales, 19, was deported to Honduras six days after she shut herself in a bathroom of a Texas family detention center and cut her wrist. In her last week at the Karnes County Residential Center, she said she was taken from her young son, stripped naked in front of screaming staffers, put into isolation and then, back with her son, hidden at a hotel before being removed from the country.
I believe two or more DHS officials conspired to deprive her of her constitutional right to due process. And with respect to her son, he was the victim of kidnapping because the detention was unlawful.
Bryan Johnson, teen mom’s attorney
Department of Homeland Security officials said Tuesday that the agency’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties has opened an investigation into the case.
“ICE takes the health, safety, and welfare of those in our care very seriously,” said Marsha Catron, DHS press secretary.
Catron did not provide details about what the investigation would entail or if Oliva would be interviewed.
On Monday, her attorney Bryan Johnson, called on the Justice Department to investigate Oliva’s treatment. He alleges immigration officials deprived Oliva of her rights to due process and proper medical attention. He also said officials unlawfully separated her from her 4-year-old son.
“I believe two or more DHS officials conspired to deprive her of her constitutional right to due process,” he said. “And with respect to her son, he was the victim of kidnapping because the detention was unlawful.”
ICE takes the health, safety, and welfare of those in our care very seriously.
Marsha Catron, DHS press secretary
Neither Johnson nor attorney Javier Maldonado, who also represented Oliva, said they had been contacted about the DHS investigation. They both questioned the sincerity of the investigation. Johnson described the civil rights office as “toothless.”
Immigration officials said Oliva was treated for a “surface-level abrasion” to one wrist and that an on-site medical professional confirmed that the injury was minor and not life-threatening. They said she was deported back to Honduras after exhausting all her legal appeals before ICE, an immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals..