A 52-year-old Nicaraguan man died Friday at an Arizona hospital while in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody, becoming the 12th person to die in the custody of immigration authorities since September, CNN reported.
A CBP statement said the man “fell into medical distress,” and attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.
The man was part of a group of asylum-seekers from Central America who surrendered to Border Patrol agents near Sasabe, AZ, and were being processed at a Tucson Border Patrol facility, the statement said.
“Our condolences are with his family,” the statement added.
CBP said its Office of Professional Responsibility had initiated a review of the circumstances of the man’s death.
Last Sunday, a 30-year-old Honduran man died weeks after being taken into custody by immigration officials, BuzzFeed News reported this week. Yimi Alexis Balderramos Torres became the sixth person to die while in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement since October, the news site said.
Balderramos previously had been detained by immigration authorities in Texas last May, along with his son. He was returned to Mexico under the Trump administration’s Migration Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which sends asylum-seekers back to Mexico while their cases proceed through the U.S. immigration system.
Later in May, Balderramos crossed the southern U.S. border again, and was detained during a traffic stop and placed in ICE custody, BuzzFeed reported. He was ordered deported and transferred to a detention facility in Houston. Later, he was found unresponsive and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy.
In the case of the Nicaraguan man, few details currently are available. CBP said that the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General, the Nicaraguan government, and members of Congress have been notified.
Other detainees to die in ICE custody since November include a 58-year-old Cuban man; two Russian nationals, a 40-year-old man and a 56-year-old man; a 54-year-old Mexican man; and a 21-year-old Indian national. A 25-year-old Salvadoran transgender woman, Jonathan Alberto “Johana” Medina Leon, died in the agency’s custody in early June.
On Saturday, Donald Trump repeated the false accusation that Democrats “want Open Borders,” which he disingenuously equated with “massive crime and drugs.”