A 34-year-old Mexican man died while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at an Ohio hospital Thursday, according to a source familiar with the incident.
The death marks the seventh while in ICE custody during the 2020 fiscal year — just one short of the number of deaths in all of the 2019 fiscal year.
A source with knowledge of the death said that the preliminary cause appears to be suicide.
Over the course of the latest series of in-custody deaths, ICE has said it is “firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody” and that the agency conducts comprehensive reviews of all such cases.
Officials have long said that the agency is dedicated to providing timely and comprehensive medical care to immigrants in its custody, noting that they have access to a daily sick call and 24-hour emergency care. The agency has publicized that it spends more than $269 million each year on health care services.
In December, the House Oversight and Reform Committee announced it had opened an investigation into the medical care of immigrant detainees in the wake of a BuzzFeed News story that revealed a series of allegations of substandard care from a whistleblower.
BuzzFeed News first reported the memo and documented how it contained reports of detainees being given incorrect medication and suffering from delays in treating withdrawal symptoms, as well as one who was allowed to become so mentally unstable he lacerated his own penis and required surgery.
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