14:53 GMT +317 February 2019
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    An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer guards a group of 116 Salvadorean immigrants that wait to be deported,at Willacy Detention facility in Raymondville, Texas on December 18, 2008

    Mexican National Held in ICE Custody Dies from ‘Self-Inflicted Strangulation’

    © AFP 2018 / Jose CABEZAS
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    Efrain de la Rosa, a 40-year-old Mexican man who was being held by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a Georgia facility, died Tuesday after being found unresponsive in his cell, the agency revealed in a Friday statement.

    The statement further notes that de la Rosa was found at approximately 10:38 p.m. local time by a Stewart Detention Facility staff member when they were conducting their scheduled rounds. After 10 minutes of CPR procedures, officials with the Stewart County Emergency Services arrived on the scene and transported de la Rosa to the Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center.

    Medical staff pronounced de la Rosa dead at 11:29 p.m. Though an investigation into his death is ongoing, the official cause of death has been listed as self-inflicted strangulation.

    Aside from following protocols and informing the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General and the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility, the agency also notified authorities at the Mexican consulate of de la Rosa's death. The consulate later informed his next of kin.

    "ICE is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of this incident, as it does in all such cases," the statement says. "Fatalities in ICE custody, statistically, are exceedingly rare and occur at a fraction of the rate of the US detained population as a whole."

    "This agency's comprehensive review will be conducted by ICE senior leadership to include Enforcement and Removal Operations, the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor," it adds.

    De la Rosa, who had been in ICE's custody since March 11, was the eighth detained person to die this year. Other detainees to have died include Yulio Castro Garrido, Luis Ramirez- Marcano, Gourgen Mirimanian, Ronald Cruz, Roxana Hernandez, Zeresenay Ermias Testfatsion and Huy Chi Tran, according to the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

    ICE has come under intense scrutiny recently, with many, including a handful of politicians, calling for the agency to be abolished after it was revealed that the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy allowed agents to separate families at the US-Mexico border. After footage of detained children crying was leaked, US President Donald Trump, under mounting pressure, signed an executive order in late June to end the policy.

    "It's about keeping families together while ensuring we have a powerful border," Trump after signing off on the new order. "I didn't like the sight or feeling of families being separated."

    At least 2,342 children were separated from their families between May 5 and June 9. Though a federal judge did order the administration to reunify children under the age of five with their families by July 10 and the remaining children by July 26, officials have struggled to follow through.


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