Remembering James Hill

Aug 07, 2020
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We at the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition are heartbroken to share that Mr. James Hill, who was detained in ICE custody at Farmville Detention Center, passed away from COVID-19 yesterday. We are devastated as we think of his family, who was looking forward to being reunited with him this summer after a long time apart.

Mr. Hill’s passing marks the fifth death in ICE custody since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. He is the first person to die of COVID-19 while in ICE custody in the DMV area. 

Mr. Hill was 72-years old and ready to go home to his family in Canada earlier this year. He remained in Farmville due to administrative delays, and was still detained there when ICE transferred 74 individuals, 51 with COVID-19, to the facility from Arizona and Florida. Days before his flight, in early July, Mr. Hill was hospitalized with COVID-19. There are now 290 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Farmville.

There is no such thing as justice for the deceased. We cannot do anything to give Mr. Hill a clean bill of health, more time with his family, or peace of mind. What we can do is everything in our power to ensure that what happened to Mr. Hill does not happen to anyone else. As we remember the tragedy of Mr. Hill’s death, let us also remember his life and the lives of all immigrants in detention who, by virtue of being human, demand dignity, justice, and safety.

While we are not able to be together in person to mourn this loss of life in our community, Mr. Hill and his family will remain in our thoughts, prayers, and actions.