Over 40 immigrants have died in ICE custody since Donald Trump took office—Part 1

Felicia J. Persaud | 6/11/2020, midnight
As protests rage across the land over the blatant brutality daily by cops against people of color, primarily Blacks and ...
Foreign nationals were arrested during the week of February 6, 2017, during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) aimed at immigration fugitives, re-entrants and at-large criminal aliens. Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

As protests rage across the land over the blatant brutality daily by cops against people of color, primarily Blacks and immigrants, many immigrants in detention facilities are also dying under this xenophobic administration.

Since 2017, when Donald Trump took office, over 40 immigrants in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (U.S. ICE) custody have died in detention centers. That’s over three dozen in three years.

The latest was Guatemalan immigrant Santiago Baten-Oxlaj, 34. Baten-Oxlaj died due to complications related to COVID-19 at the Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital in Columbus, Georgia, on May 24, 2020. He had been hospitalized since April 17, 2020 after becoming ill while in detention at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia.

Baten-Oxlaj is the second immigrant to die from COVID-19 while in ICE custody. On May 6, 2020, Carlos Escobar Mejia died from the virus at a San Diego-area hospital. The 57-year-old was an immigrant from El Salvador who had lived in the US since the 1980s, after fleeing El Salvador’s U.S.-fueled civil war. He was being held at the Otay Mesa Detention Center near the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego since January 10, 2020.

Because the list is so long, and to honor all and print their names, we will present this article in two parts. Here is the first part of the names of the immigrants who have sadly passed away while in ICE custody, as compiled by the AILA, many after killing themselves from the angst of being locked up like animals:

March 21, 2020

Ramiro Hernandez-Ibarra, a 42-year-old man from Mexico in ICE custody at the Port Isabel Detention Center (PIDC) in Los Fresnos, Texas, died Saturday, March 21, 2020, at the Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, Texas. Per ICE, the preliminary cause of death was listed as complications related to septic shock.

March 18, 2020

A 27-year-old Honduran man died at the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes, Texas. The man was found unresponsive during a routine security check and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. The preliminary cause of death appears to be “self-inflicted strangulation.”

March 8, 2020

Maria Celeste Ochoa Yoc de Ramirez, 22, a Guatemalan national in ICE custody at the Prairieland Detention Center (PDC) in Alvarado, Texas, died at the Texas Health Downtown Forth Worth (THDFW) hospital. The cause of death was autoimmune hepatitis, complicated by septic shock and acute liver failure.

February 21, 2020

David Hernandez Colula, 34, a Mexican national in ICE custody at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center (NEOCC), in Youngstown, Ohio, died on February 20, 2020, at the Mercy Health-St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital. Colula was transported to the hospital after facility staff found him unresponsive in his cell. The preliminary cause of death was self-inflicted strangulation.

January 27, 2020

A 63-year-old Cuban man in ICE custody passed away at the Larkin Community Hospital in Miami. Per ICE, the man had been receiving inpatient medical treatment at the hospital since January 23. The preliminary cause of death was ruled to be cardiac arrest.