A Mexican immigrant being held by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was reportedly found dead in his cell in Georgia – and authorities believe he killed himself.
The 40-year-old detainee, identified as Efrain De La Rosa, was being held in an ICE facility in Georgia since March.
Around 10 p.m., staff at the Stewart Detention Center in the city of Lumpkin found him unresponsive in his cell.
The detention center operators initially performed a CPR on him to revive him, but to no avail. The man was later transported to a hospital in Cuthber, where he was pronounced dead.
The latest detainee’s death makes it a total of eight people to have died in ICE custody so far this year.
"The preliminary cause of death appears to be self-inflicted strangulation; however, the case is currently under investigation," the agency said in a statement.
De La Rosa was detained by immigration officials shortly after he was released from local law enforcement for a felony conviction for larceny. At the time of his apparent suicide, he was in the process of being removed from the country.
"ICE is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of this incident, as it does in all such cases," the agency said.
However, despite its claims, the egregious violations of ICE’S own medical care standards, which have caused several deaths in the detention facilities, have often come under fire.
In most of the cases, negligence of the immigration officials — where they either provided delayed or substandard medical care or disregarded complains of illnesses altogether —turns out to be a major cause behind detainees losing their lives.
For instance, only a couple of months ago, a transgender asylum-seeker from Honduras, who had contracted HIV after being sexually assaulted by a group of MS-13 gang members, died while in the custody of ICE.
The agents reportedly failed to give her adequate medical care and food. She ultimately succumbed to her deadly disease.
However, the agency said "fatalities in ICE custody, statistically, are exceedingly rare and occur at a fraction of the rate of the U.S. detained population as a whole."
It appears the agency needs to get its facts right, as cases of detainees either ending their own lives or dying a natural death while under their custody is pretty well-documented.
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