TEXAS — Only days after the tragic death of 25-year-old Johana Medina Leon, a trans woman from El Salvador seeking asylum who died in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, come reports of two more deaths from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The first death was that of a 33-year-old Salvadoran man. According to reports, the unnamed man was apprehended by CBP agents near Roma, Texas, and began seizing shortly after. Emergency care was administered and the man was transported to a hospital, where he later died.
A 40-year-old unnamed Honduran woman was the second death announced by CBP. According to reports, the woman collapsed approximately 25 minutes after being apprehended, and was taken to a hospital, where she died.
Both deaths in CBP custody occurred Monday, and only a few days after the death of Johana Medina Leon, who died in ICE custody after remaining in detention for six weeks. Since January 2010, at least 90 people have died as a result of interactions with U.S. border agents, and community members are demanding accountability and urging lawmakers to defund these deadly and violent border agencies.
“We are deeply disturbed and alarmed by the skyrocketing death toll of both adults and children in ICE and CBP custody,” said Vicki B. Gaubeca, director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition. “These numerous and tragic deaths only serve to underscore the need to move away from dangerous enforcement-only policies, which only result in system-wide abuses, to a modern border governance that prioritizes public safety, protects human rights, and welcomes all people to our borders.”
“Yesterday, we passed the Dream and Promise Act, a bill that protects immigrants without hurting immigrants, and we fought hard to make sure that immigrant youth, TPS and DED holders weren’t used as bargaining chips to give Trump more money for his deportation force. We did that because we see every week the impact of the billions of dollars that ICE and CBP have to hurt immigrants and to even be complicit in these deaths, said Sanaa Abrar, advocacy director of United We Dream. “One death is too much and it's past time for Congress to defund ICE and CBP and begin intensive oversight of these agencies of death.”
“The Trump administration is choosing to put its dollars toward jails and enforcement every chance it’s given, and more people are dying every week as a result,” said Heidi Altman, policy director, National Immigrant Justice Center. “Congress must stop using our tax dollars to fund CBP and ICE, agencies that increasingly show us that they do not value human life.”
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.