#DefundHate Coalition Demands Answers Regarding Death of Mexican Man in CBP Custody

40-year-old man’s death is the fourth Border Agent-related death in recent months

El Paso, TX — The #DefundHate coalition and local immigrant rights groups mourn the loss of yet another life while in custody of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and demand accountability from the agency. On March 19th, a 40-year-old man died at Las Palmas Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. According to the CBP press release, the man suffered from flu-like symptoms, liver failure and renal failure. Telemundo reports the man’s name was Rene Pablo Perez Gordillo.

“The alarming death toll in CBP custody over the last few months only serves to underscore that the immigration enforcement and border security systems are plagued by egregiously poor conditions, a lack of accountability and a culture of violence that result in system-wide abuses, including death,” said Vicki B. Gaubeca, director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition. “The Border Patrol needs to be reined in and held accountable to ensure that the rights and dignity of border residents, and those who travel through the region, are protected and their quality of life is preserved.”

This is the fourth CBP-related death in recent months, with a 45-year-old man dying in CBP custody in February of this year, and the devastating deaths of Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, age 7, and 8-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin.

“Every life is of value, and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, without fear of being separated from their loved ones, or displaced from their homes,” said Kathryn Johnson, Policy Advocacy Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee. “Our elected officials must divest in agencies that tear apart our families and terrorize our communities.”

In light of these tragic and devastating losses, the #DefundHate Coalition also urges Congress to stop wasting taxpayer dollars on the abusive and deadly immigration enforcement system.

“Stopping the flow of money to the Deportation Forces of ICE and CBP is critical to stopping Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda that continues to detain, deport and kill immigrants,” said Sanaa Abrar, Advocacy Director of United We Dream.

The #DefundHate campaign, composed of organizations representing directly impacted communities, faith leaders, and civil rights and immigrant rights advocates, is committed to divestment from agencies that tear apart our families and terrorize our communities. For too long, our representatives have said they care about our communities while simultaneously funding aggressive immigration enforcement and deadly immigration jails. They must be held accountable to keep their promises and stand with the immigrant community. We call on our members of Congress to say no and vote against wasting taxpayer dollars on an abusive and deadly immigration enforcement system. We want our tax dollars used to strengthen our families and communities by investing in education, housing, nutrition and health care programs that provide opportunity and increase well-being.



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Southern Border Communities Coalition is a program of Alliance San Diego.


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