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“Dirty water, flies, & bacteria” Immigrants held in Adelanto Contract H-Pylori, highlight dangerous water contamination

Adelanto, CA – Individuals detained at Adelanto Detention Facility have contracted H. pylori due to potentially hazardous and unsanitary water contamination throughout the facility. Numerous cases have been reported to immigration lawyers, advocates, as well as the facilities themselves. Those who have contracted H. pylori have experienced heartburn, chest pain, anxiety, nausea, and gastrointestinal issues and have been placed under medical observation. Complications of H. pylori can include stomach cancer, ulcers, and inflammation of stomach lining – consistent with reports from immigrants who have expressed these symptoms. The Shut Down Adelanto Coalition has confirmed at least 3 reports of H. pylori infections.

H. pylori is known as Helicobacter pylori, a bacterial stomach infection that is caused by contaminated food and water and can be exacerbated by living in crowded conditions or can spread by others in close quarters.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) & GEO Group, a private prison company, who manage and oversee the facility have a long history of systemic disregard to the medical conditions of immigrants in their custody. There have been at least 7 deaths, with hundreds of medical complaints and recently we have witnessed a number of severe COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the facility. We believe it is likely that there are more infected people who are suffering and are not getting the right medical attention, which increases the risk of developing chronic illness in the future. The systemic malnutrition of confined immigrants shapes health outcomes for individuals, communities, and entire populations. 


The following statements were shared by current Immigrants detained in Adelanto Detention Facility: 

On multiple occasions… the water was dirty. One time there were flies inside the [water] jugs, we called the guard and they said that there was nothing they could do… I have been here 26 months and things are the same, they [fill] up the jugs…and drop them off without cleaning them. In these 2 years, nothing has changed.”


In my unit, there were two [2] or more people that were sick. One of the guys I was talking to asked me what happened and I told him I tested positive for a bacteria and he asked me if it was H- Pylori and said the same thing happened to him and that he had to go to the hospital.”


“Every time I would go to medical they would tell me that it was the after-effects from COVID-19, they didn’t tell me anything until January 2021. I first had symptoms in September of 2020.”


Shut Down Adelanto Coalition issued the following statement: 

“This is yet another reason why we fight to free all immigrants detained in Adelanto. While we’ve won major victories and proven torturous conditions occurring inside, it is still not enough. Over 400 people are still detained and are subject to ICE and GEO’s inhumanities. We call on ICE for the full release of all immigrants.” 


Margaret Hellerstein, Staff Attorney at Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project issued the following statement

 “My client’s H. pylori infection went untreated for weeks despite his severe symptoms and his multiple requests for medical attention. This is the third or fourth time a client of mine has had a major medical condition go untreated because ICE does not take their complaints seriously. I do not believe my clients are safe in ICE custody. They must be released.