U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers Reuters / Norsk Telegrambyra

Ten people have died under the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement so far this fiscal year, a figure that is much higher than previous years.

Concretely, since the beginning of the fiscal year, which starts on October, more than twice the people have died in these circumstances compared to 2023 (4) and more than thrice compared to 2022 (3).

The only fiscal year in the records when deaths exceeded 2024's figures was during the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020, when the figure reached 21.

An ICE spokesperson told NBC News that the organization "takes very seriously the safety of those in its custody and remains committed to ensuring that all those in its custody reside in safe, secure, and humane environments."

"All people in ICE custody 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 medical appointments and 24-hour emergency care. At no time during detention is a detained noncitizen denied emergent care."

The person also said that the ICE Health Service Corps "executed an operating budget of nearly $324 million on the spectrum of healthcare services provided to people in ICE custody in fiscal year 2022."

Two of the deaths took place in the past days, with one in Georgia receiving particular attention due to the fact that it was the second one in the facility.

Cambric Dennis, a 44-year-old Liberian national, died on May 21 at the at the Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus. The cause of death is still under investigation.

Dennis had spent over seven months in detention at the Stewart Detention Center in southwest Georgia, but he had been living in the U.S. since 1997, when he entered the country legally.

He was the second foreign national to have passed away in Georgia while under ICE custody this year, following the death of Jaspal Singh in April. Singh was an Indian national who died after spending months in detention at Georgia's Folkston ICE Processing Center near the Florida border.

Ten other ICE detainees have died in custody in Georgia since 2017, according to government data.

The other recent death was Hugo Boror Urla's, a Guatemalan who passed away on May 22 at a Michigan hospital. He had been detained in the state for about a month. There were no additional details about his health or hospitalization.

Health and life conditions in ICE detention centers have been under scrutiny also in Louisiana this month after migrant advocates in the southern state announced that a 33-year-old man from Senegal who died while under ICE custody in 2023 had been sick for months, with his condition deteriorating at the Winn Correctional Center in Winnfield.

That facility has for years been the subject of complaints about inadequate medical care, filthy accommodations and mistreatment of detainees, and this week the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) filed a complaint on behalf of a woman in Louisiana who says has for over a year been experiencing "severe abuse and life-threatening conditions," including sexual assault.

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