Human Rights

Congolese migrant dies after night in CBP facility

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A 41-year-old Congolese national died in Customs and Border Protection custody on Christmas, the agency confirmed Thursday.

The unnamed woman arrived in the U.S. on Tuesday afternoon and presented herself for admission into the U.S. at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge in Laredo, Texas, according to CBP. The agency said she was medically screened during initial processing, including paperwork she was carrying highlighting an unnamed existing medical condition.

The agency also claimed the woman was cleared by medical personnel and was then transferred to the Lincoln Juarez Bridge for overnight holding and further processing. But in the early hours of Wednesday morning, the Congolese national told officers she was suffering from abdominal pain. Upon reaching the Laredo Medical Center, her health “declined rapidly” and she died at the hospital, according to CBP.

“Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office (WCMEO) has determined that the death is not suspicious, as the individual had a preexisting medical condition,” the agency added. “CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility was notified and is reviewing the incident.”

The death comes days after Anthony Oluseye Akinyemi, a Nigerian national, died in the custody of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a Maryland jail. ICE said the case was still under investigation but that Akinyemi appeared to have died from “self-inflicted strangulation.”

A House panel has opened a probe into medical care for immigration detainees, citing a “pattern of negligence and abuse leading to serious harm and the deaths of immigrants detained by the Trump Administration.”


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