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Honduran man dies in ICE custody at Texas facility

The 30-year-old migrant was found unresponsive at a Houston detention facility Sunday. He is the sixth person to die in ICE custody since October.
Image: Houston Contract Detention Facility
Houston Contract Detention FacilityGoogle

A 30-year-old Honduran migrant died while in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody Sunday, the government confirmed.

Yimi Alexis Balderramos-Torres was found unresponsive in his dormitory at the Houston Contract Detention Facility on Sunday, according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security. Balderramos-Torres was then taken to a hospital in Humble, Texas, where he was pronounced dead.

The cause of death remains undetermined and an autopsy is scheduled.

"Comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment detainees arrive and throughout the entirety of their stay," the DHS said in a statement Monday. "All ICE detainees receive medical, dental and mental health intake screening within 12 hours of arriving at each detention facility, a full health assessment within 14 days of entering ICE custody or arrival at a facility, and access to daily sick call and 24-hour emergency care."

Balderramos-Torres is the sixth person to die in ICE custody since the start of the fiscal year, which began in October, the DHS said.

He was denied entry into the United States on May 17 after border agents found him "inadmissible" in El Paso, Texas, and sent him to Mexico, the department said.

On May 27, Balderramos-Torres "again entered the country illegally" and was detained by local law enforcement during a traffic stop, then transferred to ICE custody June 6, according to the agency.

Migrant detention centers have drawn renewed scrutiny amid reports of poor living conditions for detainees.

A group of lawyers told The Associated Press earlier this month that young children and teenagers were denied access to showers for days or even weeks, provided inadequate food, suffered flu outbreaks and subjected to prolonged periods of detention at a facility in Clint, Texas.

Almost 300 migrant children were removed from the center last week.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said Monday that after visiting two immigration detention facilities in Texas she learned that Customs and Border Patrol officers told detained women to "drink out of the toilets."

“After I forced myself into a cell w/ women & began speaking to them, one of them described their treatment at the hands of officers as ‘psychological warfare’ — waking them at odd hours for no reason, calling them wh*res, etc.,” she said on Twitter. “Tell me what about that is due to a 'lack of funding?'”

In an internal report prepared by Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General and obtained by NBC News, inspectors noted during a May 7 tour of a border station in the El Paso sector that only four showers were available for 756 immigrants, more than half of the immigrants were being held outside, and immigrants inside were being kept in cells maxed out at more than five times their capacity.

Medical concerns were also rising during early May, the report found. Agents reported taking sick migrants to the hospital five times a day, treating 75 immigrants for lice in a single day and trying to quarantine outbreaks of flu, chickenpox and scabies.