On April 6, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the death of 61 year-old Salvador Vargas at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA which occurred on April 4. Deaths in ICE custody are far too common, and particularly devastating in detention centers with a history of medical neglect [and falsifying documents to cover up murder] Though this is the first reported death in ICE custody in 2023, this reporting can be misleading. ICE has repeatedly released critically-ill individuals from detention (most often to a hospital) to distance themselves from responsibility for an immigrant’s eventual death. There is an L.A. Times article detailing the practice of releasing people from custody so they can die somewhere that isn’t their property. Deaths in ICE detention hit a 15-year high in fiscal year 2020, coinciding with the outbreak of COVID-19 and its devastating impact on people held in jails, prisons, and detention centers. While the pandemic contributed to some of the increase in deaths, overall conditions in detention when the Trump administration was detaining a record 50,000+ people, contributed to the high death toll.   It is not just adults dying in immigration custody. In recent months, at least seven children have either died in custody or after being detained by federal immigration agencies at the border.  American Civil Liberties Union https://www.aclu.org/news/immigrants-rights/immigrant-kids-keep-dying-cbp-detention The U.S. government has acknowledged these atrocities and they appear in a report released Thursday by the House Oversight and Reform Committee [which appears to have been removed from the government’s website]. It is mentioned briefly in this report by the oversight committee. There is even a video of guards allowing a mentally ill man in immigration custody die from self-inflicted wounds, which I linked to below. This video was taken at the Stewart Detention Center. The Stewart Detention Center, owned and operated by private prison company CoreCivic, is one of the largest immigration jails in the country — and the deadliest. Since 2017, eight people detained at Stewart have died: four from complications with Covid-19 and two by suicide, including Romero. Two others died of pneumonia and a heart attack. In December, medical examiners concluded that 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin, who also died in CBP custody, succumbed to “a rapidly progressive infection” that shut down her vital organs. CBP sent Jakelin on a 90-mile bus ride to another location after she was taken into custody, even though her father had told officials she was vomiting and feeling ill before they left. CBP officials said last year that Jakelin waited an hour and a half to receive emergency medical care after showing symptoms. Deaths of several other migrant children were reported in just eight months following her death. CBP holding facilities are “basically concrete floors with mats and barbed wire fencing and bright lights 24/7,” Linton said. “That can be a very disorienting environment to children.” This is deeply disturbing as is the lack of news coverage and the lack of outrage. The number of deaths in ICE custody increased dramatically during the 2020 fiscal year, which ends September 30. Eight of the 21 deaths in ICE custody were linked to Covid-19. Note: Annual totals are for fiscal years, which run from October 1-September 30. Source: US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Congress mandates that DHS post a list of the names and dates of death of individuals that died while being detained by ICE for immigration infractions, though this list does not include many people who died in custody for various reasons. You can see the official list here. So far in 2023 DHS acknowledges just a few of the several confirmed deaths that took place in their custody. 2023 Date of Death Name October 13, 2022 Mendoza, Melvin Ariel Calero March 5, 2023 Dumitrascu, Cristian April 4, 2023 Rosales-Vargas, Salvador June 23, 2023 Rocha-Cuadra, Ernesto 2022 Date of Death Name October 1, 2021 Sanchez-Gotopo, Pablo July 8, 2022 Gonzalez-Soto, Benjamin August 24, 2022 Vial, Kesley 2021 Date of Death Name December 17, 2020 Jones, Anthony January 30, 2021 Montes, Felipe February 5, 2021 Dean, Jesse March 15, 2021 Gallego-Agudelo, Diego Fernando August 3, 2021 Centeno-Briones, Elba Maria 2020 Date of Death Name October 1, 2019 Abienwi, Nebane October 15, 2019 Hernandez-Diaz, Roylan December 21, 2019 Akinyemi, Anthony Oluseye December 29, 2019 Mavinga, Samuelino January 25, 2020 Owen, Ben James January 27, 2020 Hernandez-Fundora, Alberto February 20, 2020 Hernandez-Colula, David March 8, 2020 Ochoa-Yoc De Ramirez, Maria Celeste March 18, 2020 Carcamo-Navarro, Orlan Ariel March 21, 2020 Hernandez-Ibarra, Ramiro May 6, 2020 Escobar-Mejia, Carlos Ernesto May 17, 2020 Ahn, Choung Woong May 24, 2020 Baten-Oxlaj, Santiago July 12, 2020 Perez-Montufa, Onoval July 15, 2020 Sanchez-Perez, Luis (aka Hernandez-Cabrera, Mauricio) August 5, 2020 Hill, James Tomas August 5, 2020 Lee, Kuan Hui August 10, 2020 Guillen Vega, Jose Freddy August 28, 2020 Sabonger-Garcia, Fernando September 21, 2020 Chavez Alvarez, Cipriano September 26, 2020 Jally, Romien