In October 2022, there was a 911 call from the Aurora ICE processing center. A detention officer
called 911 after an inmate had collapsed in his dorm. The call lasted for seven minutes. The 911
dispatcher asked for the emergency's address, but the dispatcher could not find it. The
detention officer yelled at his co-workers, asking for the street's name. Melvin Ariel Calero-
Mendoza was an asylum seeker from Nicaragua. He died from an untreated blood clot in his leg
that caused a pulmonary embolism. He died at a nearby hospital.
During the 911 phone call, the detention officer did not know the age of Mr. Calero-Mendoza or
any medical history before his collapse. The officer put the 911 dispatcher on hold several times
to find answers to the dispatcher's questions. According to his autopsy report and a preliminary
death review, it was found that Mr. Calero-Mendoza attempted to seek medical attention three
times while he was detained.
Unfortunately, the death of Mr. Calero-Mendoza is not the first death at this facility. News
outlets such as NPR and CPR News have obtained over 1,500 pages of reports of inspections
from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
investigating the conditions of private detention facilities used to hold immigrants.
Inspectors with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
discovered in a report from 2018 that there was a rise to the level of an unsafe detention
environment and poor performance in this facility. The information gave multiple examples of
untreated medical diagnoses. The report included a detainee who was tested for HIV but was
never told that the test came back positive. The report also pointed out that there was no
The ICE acting director, Rep. Jason Crow, requested a plan to prevent future deaths at the
Aurora ICE facility and asked to interview detainees who witnessed Mr. Calero-Mendoza’s
condition. Rep. Crow said in an audio statement that the delay in providing essential
information regarding Mr. Calero-Mendoza’s medical information and not giving facility access
delayed his receiving medical care quickly.
If you or anyone you know is held at the ICE detention center, please call Pikes Peak
Immigration to schedule a consultation.