US to pay $1.95 million in damages to family of deceased illegal immigrant

The United States federal government recently agreed to pay $1.95 million to settle a lawsuit filed by an illegal immigrant prior to his death, which claims that detention facility officials neglected to treat his penile cancer.

Francisco Castaneda came to the US with his mother in 1982 from war-torn El Salvador, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. In 2005, he was charged with possessing methamphetamine and eventually ended up in a detention facility while the government tried to deport him and he applied for political asylum.

During his time at the detention center, he developed painful growths on his genitals and pleaded with medical staff to provide him with medical care, his suit said. According to the Los Angeles Times, Castaneda claimed health officials merely gave him ibuprofen and denied a biopsy, describing it as “an elective procedure.”

Castaneda was finally released in 2007, and died of cancer in 2008 at the age of 36 after testifying before a congressional committee about healthcare in immigrant detention centers.

Lawyers for the man’s estate say that the government, which has admitted negligence in the case, has since moved to improve healthcare services for the 300,000 immigrants held in detention centers awaiting possible deportation every year.