EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A Venezuelan man in immigration custody with various medical conditions died at a Mississippi hospital last week.
Pablo Sanchez-Gotopo, 40, had been in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody since May, when U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended him near Del Rio, Texas.
Officials transferred him days later to the Adams County Detention Center in Natchez, Mississippi, where he was medically screened and tested negative for the coronavirus.
On July 28, Sanchez-Gotopo again tested negative for the coronavirus but began showing symptoms of COVID-19. Staff at the detention center sent him to Merit Health Natchez.
ICE said his condition worsened, and on Sept. 25, medical staff transferred him to Merit Health River Oaks in Flowood, Mississippi.
Sanchez-Gotopo had been in the hospital receiving ongoing treatment for his health conditions but died Oct. 1. The preliminary cause of death, officials said, was from complications with acute respiratory failure, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), pneumonia, acute kidney failure, anemia, and COVID-19.
ICE has notified the Venezuelan consulate and Sanchez-Gotopo’s next of kin.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility also have been notified. ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations and the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor will conduct a comprehensive review.
“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 agency said in a news release. “Fatalities in ICE custody, statistically, are exceedingly rare and occur at a fraction of the national average for the U.S. detained population.”
There are 23,806 detainees in ICE custody, according to data on the agency’s website. As of Sept. 30, 538 detainees have tested positive for COVID-19 and are under isolation or monitoring.
The IAH Polk Adult Detention Facility in Livingston, Texas, currently has the most active cases at 48. The Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas, has 46 active cases.