U.S. NEWS

Migrant Dies In Border Patrol Custody, The Fourth Death In 4 Months

The 40-year-old Mexican man was diagnosed with flu-like symptoms, liver failure and renal failure, officials said.

Authorities said a 40-year-old Mexican man died in U.S. Border Patrol custody at a Texas hospital on Monday, making it the fourth death in as many months.

The man was treated at the Las Palmas Medical Center in El Paso after medical staff diagnosed him with flu-like symptoms, liver failure and renal failure. He died later that day, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.

Telemundo has identified the man as Rene Pablo Perez Gordillo of Maltrata, Veracruz, citing the Consulate General of Mexico.

Sandra Perez places a photo of her late brother, Rene Pablo Perez, at an altar in her home in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Tuesd
Sandra Perez places a photo of her late brother, Rene Pablo Perez, at an altar in her home in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Tuesday.

According to the CBP, the migrant had twice crossed the border illegally just 24 hours earlier. During his second detainment, medical personnel at the Border Patrol’s processing facility evaluated him near El Paso’s Paso Del Norte Port of Entry and then transported him to the medical center.

Andrew Meehan, CBP’s assistant commissioner for public affairs, expressed condolences to the man’s family and loved ones.

“CBP remains committed to ensuring the safe, humane and dignified treatment of those within the care of our custody,” he said in a statement. “Consistent with CBP policy, CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility has initiated a review. The Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General and the Government of Mexico has been notified.”

A woman in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, embraces the daughter of Perez, a Mexican migrant who died at a Texas hospital on Monday.
A woman in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, embraces the daughter of Perez, a Mexican migrant who died at a Texas hospital on Monday.

The man’s death follows several others within the last few months.

On Dec. 8, a 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died from what authorities said was dehydration and shock while in U.S. Border Patrol custody.

Weeks later, on Dec. 24, an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy died in U.S. custody. Initial results from an autopsy determined that he died from the flu.

Most recently, on Feb. 3, a 45-year-old Mexican man in Border Patrol custody died at another Texas hospital after staff diagnosed him with cirrhosis of the liver and congestive heart failure.

New bollard-style U.S.-Mexico border fencing is seen in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Four migrants have died while in Border Pat
New bollard-style U.S.-Mexico border fencing is seen in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Four migrants have died while in Border Patrol custody since December.

Prior to the deaths in December, no child had died in CBP custody for more than a decade, according to CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. 

McAleenan earlier this month described the border patrol system as “well beyond capacity” and “at the breaking point.”

He said approximately 2,200 people arrive at the border, sometimes by the busload, every day. The current processing centers are filled to capacity and beyond overwhelmed.

“This is clearly both a border security and a humanitarian crisis,” he said.

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