CBP: El Salvador man died in custody - Brownsville Herald: Valley

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CBP: El Salvador man died in custody

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Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2019 10:36 am

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials confirmed Sunday the death of an El Salvador man after his apprehension near Roma, according a statement from CBP. The 33-year-old man, who has not been identified, apparently suffered a seizure about an hour after he and a group of undocumented persons surrendered to U.S. Border Patrol agents at about noon Sunday near Roma.

“Shortly after taking him into custody, agents called Emergency Medical Services after they observed signs that the man was suffering from an apparent seizure at 12:22 p.m.,” the CBP statement read. “An EMT certified Border Patrol Agent quickly initiated emergency medical care until EMS arrived at 12:29 p.m. EMS continued emergency care and transported him to a local hospital at 12:45 p.m. Despite all efforts to save the 33-year-old man’s life, hospital authorities pronounced him deceased.”

The Central American man’s death comes after a series of deaths of asylum seekers in CBP and U.S. government custody in the last six months. On May 20, Carlos Gregorio Hernandez-Vasquez, a 16-year-old Guatemalan national, died at Border Patrol’s Weslaco station. The teenager was detained May 13 near Hidalgo and transferred from the Rio Grande Valley sector’s main processing center in McAllen to the U.S. Border Patrol station in Weslaco, where he was found unresponsive May 20.

CBP officials also said Hernandez-Vasquez let agents know on May 19 he wasn’t feeling well, which prompted medical staff to diagnose him with influenza. Agents subsequently purchased Tamiflu from a local pharmacy for Hernandez-Vasquez, but he was was found unresponsive during a welfare check the following day. The teen was the first minor to die while in government custody since December.

PREVIOUS CASES

Seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquín died of a bacterial infection in December 2018 while Felipe Gomez Alonzo, 8, died on Christmas Eve. Both children were from Guatemala.

On May 14, a 2-year-old child from Guatemala died after being detained by Border Patrol agents. The boy, identified as Wilmer Josué Ramírez-Vásquez, died after about a month at a hospital.

Reports show the boy and his mother were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border near El Paso on April 3. A few days later, the boy’s mother told agents he was sick, which led to a transfer to a hospital in El Paso. On April 8, the family was given a notice to appear and released, effectively ending their custody under CBP.

Ramírez-Vásquez was the fourth minor child to die after being detained by CBP.

In late April, another 16-year-old male died while at a youth detention facility in Texas.

Juan de León Gutiérrez, determined to have a rare condition known as Pott’s puffy tumor, died April 30 after officials noticed he was sick while at the facility. He died after several days at the hospital, HHS officials said.

The same week Hernandez-Vazquez’s died, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the previously unreported death of a 10-yearold girl from El Salvador in September 2018 — months before Caal Maquín died in a Texas hospital.

The girl died of a fever and respiratory distress at an Omaha, Nebraska hospital months after she entered the country in March 2018.

CBP acting commissioner John P. Sanders released a statement following the most recent death on Sunday.

“On behalf of the men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, we extend our deepest condolences to those who are just learning of the tragic death of their loved one,” the release stated.

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