Leo Gutierrez has a healthy kidney waiting for him in El Salvador. But he can’t get to it.
Despite his pleas to be deported to his home country, where relatives have offered their organs for transplant, the state of California pays thousands of dollars for him to receive dialysis three times a week at Coalinga State Hospital.
Gutierrez is a sexually violent predator, among nearly 1,300 men in a special class of sex offenders who, under state law, are sent to the Fresno County mental health hospital after serving their prison sentences. He’s also one of at least 30 men at the hospital who are undocumented.
“I asked (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) why they don’t pick me up. They said the hospital says I’m still paying for a crime. But that’s not true. I finished my time in 2001,” Gutierrez, 49, said. “I don’t know why I did what I did then, but I can’t correct it. And all this time, I’ve been in this place.”