Another Detained Immigrant Has Died In ICE Custody

Nebane Abienwi, 37, from Cameroon had a "hypertensive event," U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.

A 37-year-old man from Cameroon died while in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tuesday afternoon.

Nebane Abienwi had been in ICE custody since Sept. 19, the government agency said in a release Wednesday. He’d applied for admission to the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on Sept. 5, but didn’t have the proper documents.

Abienwi suffered a “hypertensive event” ― a term used to describe a spike in blood pressure that can result in a stroke ― sometime the night of Sept. 25 and was transferred to the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center the next morning.

Doctors at Chula Vista said Abienwi was “nonresponsive to questions and appeared to be paralyzed on his left side” when he arrived.

He remained at the hospital until his death Tuesday. ICE says hospital staff identified the cause of death as brain death following a brain hemorrhage. 

ICE said Abienwi’s next of kin and the consulate general of Cameroon were notified of his death.

Abienwi is the seventh adult immigrant to die in ICE custody so far in 2019, according to data tracked by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Twelve adult immigrants died in ICE custody in 2018 and 10 died in 2017.

“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 release. “Fatalities in ICE custody, statistically, are exceedingly rare and occur at a small fraction of the rate of the U.S. detained population as a whole.”