After a 37 year old Cameroonian man named Nebane Abienwi died in an ICE detention center in Otay Mesa, CA, a new bill has been introduced to the California legislature banning all for-profit prisons, including detention facilities. During his inaugural address, governer Gavin Newsom promised to “end the outrage of private prisons once and for all.” Since reaching an all time high in 2016, the amount of prisoners sent to privately run facilities has dropped and this bill would shutter four ICE facilities that can hold approximately 4,500 detainees.
In a statement, Lizbeth Abeln of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice said, quote, “The ongoing loss of life in immigration detention is not only heartbreaking, it’s infuriating. There is a bill sitting on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk right now waiting to be signed that would ban private detention, like Otay, from [California]. People in detention cannot afford to be behind bars a second longer, Newsom needs to sign now,” she said. Albeln was referring to the bill that California lawmakers passed last month banning private prisons statewide, in a major blow to the for-profit prison industry in the U.S.
Abienwi applied for admission into the United States on Sept. 5 at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and was transferred to ICE custody on Sept. 19, according to the Union-Tribune. He was being detained at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego, but was rushed to the emergency room on Sept. 26 after experiencing a hypertensive event in the middle of the night, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Physicians at Sharp Chula Vista provided treatment to Abienwi, who appeared paralyzed on his left side and remained in the hospital until medical staff pronounced him dead on Tuesday.