Forty-year-old Efrain De La Rosa, a Mexican national who was held in an ICE detention facility in Georgia, committed suicide and was pronounced dead late Tuesday evening, making him the eighth person in ICE custody to die in the 2018 fiscal year.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency confirmed De La Rosa’s death in a press release Thursday afternoon. His death is the third at the Stewart Detention Facility in Lumpkin, Georgia in only 15 months, according to nonprofit advocacy organization Project South.
De La Rosa was detained in March after being released from local law enforcement for a felony conviction for larceny. He was undergoing deportation proceedings at the time of his suicide.
“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,” ICE said in a statement.
But recent reports cast doubts on the agency’s claim, as numerous individuals have died in ICE custody over the past several months. In January, 33-year-old Cuban detainee Yulio Castro Garrido died of pneumonia at an ICE facility in Florida. In May, Roxsana Hernandez, a 33-year-old transgender Hondouran woman died at a New Mexican ICE facility, also from pneumonia. And in December 2017, Kamiyar Samimi, an Iranian man, died from cardiac arrest while in ICE custody in Colorado.
A 2017 report by Human Rights Watch highlighted poor conditions in detention centers across the United States, including major “lapses in health care that have led to severe suffering and at times the preventable or premature death of individuals.”
Conditions at the Stewart detention center, where De La Rosa was detained, are particularly horrific. A recent report by Project South and the Penn State Law Center on Immigrants’ Rights Clinic revealed systematic human rights violations and disturbing conditions at the Stewart detention center, including limited access to health care, overuse of solitary confinement, limited access to legal counsel, and poor food quality and quantity, as well as claims that the staff have been repeatedly racist toward detainees.