Image via AP

There have been at least eight detainees who have died in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the 2017 fiscal year (starting October 2016).

For comparison, in FY 2016, there were 12 in-custody deaths; in the 2015 fiscal year, there were seven deaths.

The deaths listed below are based on confirmed ICE reports and include additional details from immigrant rights advocates and news coverage. We will update this post throughout the fiscal year as more confirmed reports become available.


Atulkumar Babubhai Patel

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Died May 16, 2017

Atulkumar Babubhai Patel was pronounced dead at a hospital near the Atlanta City Detention Center just two days after he entered ICE custody.

Patel, 58, was born in India and was detained by ICE after he arrived from Quito, Ecuador, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on May 10 without the necessary immigration documents. The preliminary cause of death has been ruled to be complications from congestive heart failure, according to ICE.

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ICE said staff at the detention center identified Patel had high blood pressure and diabetes during the initial medical screening.

Patel is the eighth individual to die in ICE custody in fiscal year 2017.


Jean Jimenez-Joseph, 27

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Died May 15, 2017

Jean Jimenez-Joseph was pronounced dead at the Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus, Georgia at 2:15 A.M. on May 15, 2017.

Jimenez-Joseph was found unresponsive with a sheet around his neck inside his cell at the Stewart Detention Facility, a for-profit, privately run detention center in Lumpkin.

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The preliminary cause of death was ruled to be self-inflicted strangulation, according to ICE.

Jimenez-Joseph, born in Panama, was transferred into ICE custody on March 2 from Wake County, North Carolina. ICE officials said on January 5 he was convicted of a felony for stealing a car. At the time of his death, he was facing deportation proceedings.

Authorities said Jimenez-Joseph had been in solitary confinement for 19 days at the time of his death. He was was placed in solitary confinement on April 27 after he jumped from a second floor walkway.

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“They stated that he was always clowning around and trying to get attention, and whenever he did what he did—as far as jumping over the railing—they deemed that an incident that warranted placing him in solitary or confinement, which they did,” Danny Jackson, a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation who is investigating the suicide, told WABE.

Jimenez-Joseph was punished with an additional three days in solitary confinement after he exposed himself to a nurse.

The United Nations special rapporteur on torture has called for a ban on solitary confinement in excess of 15 days, citing scientific studies that have found it can cause “lasting mental damage.”

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ICE officials said this is the first fatality of a detainee from the Stewart Detention Center in more than eight years.

Jimenez is the seventh individual to die in ICE custody in the 2017 fiscal year.


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Sergio Alonso López, 55
Died April 13, 2017

Sergio Alonso López, 55, was born in Mexico and died in a hospital near the Adelanto Detention Facility, a privately run detention center in the California high desert where he was being detained.

ICE said the preliminary cause of death for Lopez was determined to be internal bleeding.

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Officials said López had a series of medical issues, including chronic liver damage and was taken to the hospital April 1 after he vomited blood.

López entered ICE custody on February 7, 2017, after he was arrested in Los Angeles during a week-long series of immigration raids that resulted in almost 700 arrests across the country.

Immigration officials said López had previously been deported to Mexico three times since 1994 and had prior felony convictions for burglary and drug possession.

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López is the sixth detainee to die in ICE custody since October, the beginning of fiscal year 2017.


Osmar Epifanio Gonzalez-Gadba, 32
Died March 28, 2017

Osmar Epifanio Gonzalez-Gadba, 32, born in Nicaragua, died six days after he attempted to kill himself at the Adelanto Detention Facility, a privately run detention center in the California desert.

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Gonzalez-Gadba spent about three months in immigration detention. He went into ICE custody in December after he was caught re-entering the U.S. by border agents. He was previously deported to Nicaragua in April 2016.

ICE said personnel conducting routine evening rounds at the detention center found him hanging in his cell. The preliminary cause of death was heart failure caused by the cerebral edema which resulted from asphyxiation.

“ICE was in the process of attempting to get a travel document from Nicaragua to complete the removal when he took his life,” Virginia Kice, an ICE spokeswoman told Fusion.

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Gonzalez-Gadba is the fifth detainee to die in ICE custody in fiscal year 2017.

Activists gather near the Adelanto Detention Facility to call attention to the number of deaths that have occurred in the facility. The ACLU of Southern California found a “pattern of documented medical neglect and mistreatment at the [Adelanto] facility.” (Jorge Rivas/Fusion)

Roger Rayson, 47
Died March 13, 2017

Roger Rayson, 47, was born in Jamaica and died in a Louisiana hospital near the LaSalle Detention Facility, a privately run facility in Jena, LA, where he was being detained.

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The cause of death is believed to be cardiac arrest, according to ICE.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons transferred Rayson into ICE custody after he served time for “importation of cocaine,” officials said.

ICE officials said the agency informed the Jamaican consular officials and the deceased’s next of kin.

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Rayson was the first immigrant detainee to die in ICE custody under President Donald Trump’s administration.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and a coalition of immigrant rights groups are calling on ICE to investigate Rayson’s death. Three other individuals detained at this detention center died in 2016, according to ICE records reviewed by Fusion.

Rayson is the fourth detainee to die in ICE custody in fiscal year 2017.


Raquel Calderon de Hildago, 36
Died November 27, 2016

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Raquel Calderon de Hildago, 36, was born in Guatemala and died at an Arizona hospital near the Eloy Detention Center, a privately run detention center.

Calderon de Hildago was pronounced dead by hospital personnel following a series of seizures.

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An Arizona medical examiner determined Calderon de Hildago died of blood clots in her lung. “The autopsy found blood clots throughout all the lobes of the right lung,” the result of a leg injury,” according to a Arizona Republic report.

A 2015 analysis by Republic found that there have been more deaths tied to the Eloy Detention Center than any other detention facility in the nation.

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Calderon is the third individual to die in ICE custody in fiscal year 2017.

An unmarked police truck patrols the outside of a detention center in Eloy, Arizona, in this January 2016 file photo. (AP)

Wenceslau Esmerio Campos, 49
Died November 25, 2016

Campos, 49, was born in Brazil and died at a Texas hospital near the South Texas Detention Complex, a privately run immigration detention facility.

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Officials said Campos’ preliminary cause of death was identified as cardiac arrest.

ICE officials transported Campos to the Frio Regional Hospital in Pearsall, TX, for medical evaluation due to chest pains. A short time later, hospital officials arranged for him to be taken to Methodist Hospital due to his life-threatening condition, ICE officials said in a statement.

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Despite continuing efforts to stabilize him, Campos’ condition worsened. On Nov. 25, at 8:55 a.m., Campos was pronounced dead by Methodist Hospital officials.

Campos is the second individual to die in ICE custody in fiscal year 2017.

As of March 25, 2017, the average daily population of individuals in ICE custody is 40,736, according to the agency. (AP Photo)

Olubunmi Toyin Joshua, 54
Died October 24, 2016

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Officials identified Olubunmi Toyin Joshua as a 54-year-old woman from the United Kingdom. She died at a Texas hospital near the Rolling Plains Detention Center, a privately run immigration detention facility.

ICE officials said Joshua originally entered the United States at New York City in 1984 on a student visa. Advocates said she was detained for over eight months at the Rolling Plains Detention Center before she died.

Joshua was the first detainee to die in ICE custody in fiscal year 2017.