Deaths in ICE custody this year exceed last year’s total.

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In the current fiscal year, 10 individuals have died while in the custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), more than doubling the number of deaths recorded in the entirety of 2021 and nearly tripling the deaths from 2022. According to ICE data and news releases, this number has already surpassed the death toll for five out of the six preceding years, with the exception being 2020, which saw 21 deaths amidst the peak of the Covid pandemic.

Among the recent fatalities, Hugo Boror Urla, a 39-year-old Guatemalan migrant, passed away on May 22 at a Michigan hospital. He had been in ICE custody for about a month prior, having been detained at Calhoun County Jail in Battle Creek, Michigan. Another individual, Cambric Dennis, a 44-year-old man from Liberia, also lost his life in ICE custody in Georgia on May 21. The causes of death for both individuals are currently pending.

Since January of this year, six deaths have been reported in ICE custody. Immigration advocates have voiced concern over these occurrences, citing ongoing human rights violations within privately-run ICE detention centers. They have called for increased accountability and transparency, as well as the release of detainees with health issues and potential sponsors while their immigration cases are being processed. Specific detention centers with numerous allegations of human rights violations have also been proposed for closure.

In response to these concerns, an ICE spokesperson emphasized the importance of private detention contractors in executing the agency’s mission. They explained that the ability to remove individuals and detain those who pose a public safety threat is directly dependent on the availability of detention space.

As of the current fiscal year, the average daily population in ICE custody is 37,835, a significant increase from the average daily populations of 22,578, 28,289, and 19,254 in fiscal years 2021, 2022, and 2023, respectively. In fiscal year 2020, the average daily population was 33,724, despite that year seeing the highest number of deaths since 2018.