Salvadoran Immigrant Dies In ICE Custody As Detainee Deaths Rise
By Roque Planas
A 44-year-old Salvadoran national died in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody on Saturday, the 10th detainee to die in ICE custody since this fiscal year began Oct. 1. That’s the same number who died in the entire 2016 fiscal year, and the most since 2011.
Carlos Mejía Bonilla, 44, was admitted to Jersey City Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit with gastrointestinal bleeding on June 8. He died two days later, according to a statement ICE released on Tuesday.
Mejía Bonilla first crossed into the United States in 1993. He was arrested by Border Patrol agents, but freed on an order of recognizance, according to ICE. He had been living in the New York area in recent years, where ICE detained him on April 1. He had two convictions on his record for driving while intoxicated ― in 2009 and in 2014.
The number of deaths in ICE custody varies from year to year, influenced somewhat by the total number of people detained. Some deaths are the result of medical conditions that happened prior to detention.
“ICE takes the health and well-being of the individuals in our custody extremely seriously and we provide extensive medical, dental and mental health care to ensure their health and safety to the best of our ability,” ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said in a statement.
Human rights groups, however, have criticized both the medical treatment and mental health services available to immigrant detainees. Two of the 10 deaths this fiscal year were suicides. A third immigrant detainee attempted suicide at at family detention center in Texas last month in an attempt to free her two children. They […]