Immigrant Left Disabled In Work Accident Dies After Deportation

A quadriplegic immigrant who became disabled while working on a roof died Sunday.

By Jorge Rivas Jan 05, 2012

Quelino Ojeda Jimenez, who was deported to Mexico by a Chicago-area hospital in 2010, passed away on Sunday. Jimenez, 21, was working as a roofer when he fell four stories and sustained serious injuries that left him quadriplegic.

Chicago’s Advocate Christ Medical Center admitted to transferring Jimenez without his consent to Oaxaca, Mexico shortly after he was "transferred."

Hospital officials maintained the move was made so he could be closer to home, but Jimenez was still 4 hours away from his parents, sisters, wife and child who live in a remote town and couldn’t afford to see him regularly.

"The removal of Quelino from a medical facility in the USA could have possibly contributed to his physical decline and ultimately his death," said Julie Contreras, national immigrant affairs commissioner for the League of United Latin American Citizens, to the Chicago Tribune this week.

"He would have never received the same treatment in a Mexican hospital as he did here in Illinois," Contreras said.

Ojeda himself told The Tribune the same thing last February: "I didn’t want to come back … because here there’s no medicine. … I need therapy, I need a lot of things and they don’t have."

"This is what people are treated like when they are cast as "illegal," Mónica Novoa, coordinator of the Drop the I-Word campaign which is seeking to get the media to stop using the pejorative "illegals" and related terms to describe undocumented immigrants.

"Migrants are caught up in a perilous domino effect. Economic policies push people out of their homelands to find work, force them to work without papers, worker protections and healthcare."

"This is total dehumanization," Novoa went on to say.