A man from Nicaragua under the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) died Tuesday after attempting to commit suicide a week prior. The undocumented immigrant had hanged himself March 22 in his Adelanto Detention Facility cell in Adelanto, California.
Osmar Epifanio Gonzalez-Gadba, 32, was under the custody of the agency since December, and last week, officials found him hanging in his cell with a bedsheet tied around his neck. He hadn't yet succumbed to his injuries when he was found, the Washington Post reports.
Officials called 911, and Gonzalez-Gadba was rushed to Victor Valley Global Medical Center's intensive care unit where he was placed on life support.
ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said that there “are officers and medical personnel who make rounds regularly,” but that when Gonzalez-Gadba attempted to take his own life, he “was housed in a one-person room, so he was alone when it occurred and they discovered him fairly quickly.”
Despite being taken to the hospital immediately, an ICE news release said, he never regained consciousness. Due to his injuries, ICE added, “the preliminary cause of death [is] heart failure caused by the cerebral edema which resulted from asphyxiation.”
Gonzalez-Gadba died six days after his suicide attempt, making him the fifth detainee to die in the agency's custody in 2017.
@washingtonpost this speaks directly to how we treat the least of these😢.— Martha Wrona (@MarthaWrona) March 30, 2017
@washingtonpost no compassion in the world anymore. Heaven help us.— Deandra Rubio (@ddeeandra) March 30, 2017
The Nicaraguan immigrant was detained by the U.S. Border Patrol near Otay Mesa, just south of San Diego. ICE was in the process of obtaining his travel documents from the Nicaraguan government to go ahead with deportation when he attempted suicide. He had been previously deported to Nicaragua in April 2016.
This tragic death reminds us of the suicide of Guadalupe Olivas Valencia, the Mexican man who jumped to his death just moments after being deported in February. These deaths become much more troubling as we know so many undocumented immigrants in America are living in fear after President Donald Trump, who signed an executive order instructing federal agencies to crack down on the millions of immigrants who were living illegally in the United States.
Ever since then, hundreds were arrested. But while many were criminals, others had only minor convictions and no offenses in their records.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Brendan McDermid