El Salvadorian man dies in CBP custody

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials confirmed Sunday the death of an El Salvadorian man after his apprehension near Roma, according a statement from CBP.

The 33-year-old man, who has not been identified, apparently suffered a seizure about an hour after he and a group of undocumented persons surrendered to U.S. Border Patrol agents at about noon Sunday near Roma.

“Shortly after taking him into custody, agents called Emergency Medical Services after they observed signs that the man was suffering from an apparent seizure at 12:22 p.m.,” the CBP statement read. “An EMT-certified Border Patrol Agent quickly initiated emergency medical care until EMS arrived at 12:29 p.m. EMS continued emergency care and transported him to a local hospital at 12:45 p.m. Despite all efforts to save the 33-year-old man’s life, hospital authorities pronounced him deceased.”

The Central American man’s death comes after a series of deaths of asylum seekers in CBP and U.S. government custody in the last six months.

On May 20, Carlos Gregorio Hernandez-Vasquez, a 16-year-old Guatemalan national, died at Border Patrol’s Weslaco station.

The teenager was detained May 13 near Hidalgo, and transferred from the Rio Grande Valley sector’s main processing center in McAllen to the U.S. Border Patrol station in Weslaco where he was found unresponsive on May 20.

CBP officials also said Hernandez-Vasquez let agents know on May 19 he wasn’t feeling well, which prompted medical staff to diagnose him with influenza.

Agents subsequently purchased Tamiflu from a local pharmacy for Hernandez-Vasquez. The following day, Hernandez-Vasquez was found unresponsive during a welfare check.

Since December, the teenager was only one in several minors to die while in government custody.


Seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquín died of a bacterial infection in December 2018 while Felipe Gomez Alonzo, 8, died on Christmas Eve. Both children were from Guatemala.

On May 14, a 2-year-old child from Guatemala, died after being detained by Border Patrol agents. The boy, identified as Wilmer Josué Ramírez-Vásquez, died after about a month at a hospital, though he and his family had officially been released from custody April 8.

He was the fourth minor child to die after being detained by CBP.

Juan de León Gutiérrez, determined to have a rare condition known as Pott’s puffy tumor, died April 30 after officials noticed he was sick while at the facility. He died after several days at the hospital.

The same week of Hernandez-Vazquez’s death, officials confirmed the previously unreported death of a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador in September 2018.

The girl died of fever and respiratory distress at an Omaha, Nebraska hospital months after she entered the country in March 2018.

CBP acting commissioner John P. Sanders released a statement following the 33-year-old man’s death.

“On behalf of the men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, we extend our deepest condolences to those who are just learning of the tragic death of their loved one,” the release stated.