Another undocumented immigrant has died in Border Patrol custody. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said that a 45-year-old Mexican national died on Feb. 18 at the McAllen Medical Center in McAllen, Texas, roughly two weeks after being detained. The passing of this man is the third death of an undocumented immigrant in Border Patrol custody in as many months. The other two deaths include 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin and 8-year-old Felipe Alonzo-Gomez.
According to CBP, officials apprehended the man on Feb. 2 near the Roma Port of Entry, in Roma, Texas, where he immediately requested medical attention. Officials took him to the Mission Regional Medical Center in Mission, Texas but then said he was cleared to be released and then transported to the Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station. The following day, he requested medical attention again. Officials took him to the Mission Regional Medical Center which is where he remained until his passing. According to CBP, doctors diagnosed him with cirrhosis of the liver and congestive heart failure, though an official cause of death is not yet known.
The CBP released the following statement: “This loss of life is tragic. Our condolences go out to the family and loved ones. CBP remains committed to ensuring the safe and humane treatment of those within the care of our custody.”
Some on social media are questioning why the man was released from the hospital so quickly after initially detained. RAICES — an immigration advocate organization — said on Twitter that there needs to be an investigation into the death of the 45-year-old.
“We just found out a THIRD person has died in CBP custody in as many months,” they tweeted. “This cannot continue. We keep incentivizing dangerous desert crossings by making legal immigration & asylum impossible. These are the predictable outcomes. NO MORE MIGRANT DEATHS.”
The CBP notes that they will “ensure an independent and thorough review of the circumstances” surrounding his death. It’s also unknown whether this Mexican national was seeking asylum.