Deaths in CBP Custody

AILA provides a continually updated list of press releases announcing deaths in CBP custody, deaths occurring in agent-involved incidents, and other migrant deaths on the border. In 2019, Politico reported that DHS’s “inadequate medical technology and record-management for the thousands of migrants who pass through its custody are contributing to poor care and even deaths.” In July 2020, GAO issued a report noting that CBP has not consistently implemented enhanced medical care policies and procedures for detainees and children at southwest border facilities and that it violated appropriations law by using emergency funds to enhance detainees' medical care for other items. GAO also found that CBP lacks reliable data on deaths and did not report this data to Congress as directed. Three children died in CBP custody in FY2019.


2021 Announcements

August 6, 2021

CBP Releases Statement on Death in Custody at Eagle Pass TX
CBP released a statement after a group of suspected undocumented migrants were encountered approximately 17 miles south of Eagle Pass, Texas near Highway 277. When the Border Patrol transport vehicle arrived approximately one hour later, BPAs discovered the man was unresponsive. The BPAs began chest compressions and requested emergency medical services. When the Eagle Pass Fire Department arrived on the scene, medical personnel determined the man was deceased.


June 15, 2021

CBP Releases Statement on Death in Custody in the RGV
CBP released a statement noting that a male Mexican citizen was found unresponsive due to heat-related illness. On June 10, 2021, he died from his ailments.


June 1, 2021

CBP Releases Statement on Death Due to Failure to Yield
CBP released a statement noting that on June 1, 2021, U.S. Border Patrol agents patrolling in the area of Sierra Blanca, Texas, were involved in failure to yield that resulted in one fatality. CBP did not provide any additional information regarding the incident.

On June 3, CBP issued a follow up statement, stating that:

As a HCSO Deputy Sheriff and BPAs approached the vehicle, they heard a gunshot. After approximately one hour, HCSO Deputies, BPAs and TX Department of Public Safety State Troopers approached the vehicle and discovered the driver with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Hudspeth County, TX, Justice of the Peace later pronounced the driver, a nineteen year old U.S. Citizen, deceased.


May 27, 2021

CBP Releases Statement on In-Custody Death
On May 25, 2021, Border Patrol agents near Carrizo Springs, Texas, responded to a 911 call from an individual who stated that she and another individual had been attacked by bees. The agents located the two individuals, one of whom, a male Mexican citizen, was unresponsive. The man was transported to the Dimmit County Medical Center, and subsequently to the San Antonio Methodist Hospital. On May 26, 2021, the man was pronounced deceased by hospital staff.


May 15, 2021

Border Patrol Agents Involved in Fatal Shooting in Campo, California
CBP released a statement regarding an agent-involved fatal shooting in Campo, California. Per CBP, the incident occurred after Border Patrol agents pursued a vehicle “suspected of being involved in migrant smuggling.” Per CBP, “a confrontation ensued” after the vehicle stopped in a gas station “resulting in three Border Patrol agents discharging their firearms.” The male driver of the vehicle was struck and transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The individual has not yet been positively identified.


May 1, 2021

Honduran National Dies After Being Struck by Border Patrol Vehicle Near Kingsville, Texas
CBP reported that on April 29, 2021, two migrants were run over by a Border Patrol vehicle in Kenedy County near Kingsville, Texas. One migrant, a male Honduran national, died on the scene as a result of his injuries. Another migrant was transferred to a hospital in Harlingen, Texas, and was discharged later in the day. Per CBP, the migrants were “burrowed next to each other” in grass when the vehicle ran over them, and that the initial investigation indicates that Border Patrol agents were not “aware anyone had been run over by a vehicle until informed by a migrant.”


April 18, 2021

Individual Struck and Killed by Vehicle Near San Manuel, Texas
CBP reported that an individual was struck and killed by a civilian vehicle following a Border Patrol encounter. On April 15, 2021, an agent initiated a traffic stop near San Manuel, Texas; the vehicle yielded, and per CBP, several occupants fled. While the agent was detaining the driver, a juvenile U.S. citizen, an occupant of the car who had fled was struck and killed by a civilian vehicle. CBP did not confirm the identity and citizenship of the deceased.


April 18, 2021

CBP Issues Statement on Death in Custody of Honduran Woman in Rio Grande Valley, Texas
CBP issued a statement on the death in custody of a Honduran woman encountered by CBP near the Rio Grande in Hidalgo, Texas. Per CBP, on April 15, 2021, Border Patrol agents were notified by a member of a migrant group that a woman was in medical distress. The woman, who was traveling with three children – one adult and two juveniles, was transported by CBP agents to a nearby location, from where she was eventually transported to the McAllen Medical Center. The woman passed away on April 16, 2021.


April 17, 2021

CBP Issues Statement on Death in Custody Near Hebbronville, Texas
CBP reported the death of a man, whose identity and nationality has not yet been determined. CBP encountered the man in “medical distress” during a traffic stop on April 15, 2021. The man was provided medical care by a Border Patrol EMT and transported by Duval County EMS to the Christus Spohn Hospital in Alice, Texas, where he was pronounced dead.


April 4, 2021

CBP Issues Statement Regarding Death in Arizona, Not in Custody
CBP reported the death of a 24-year-old Mexican national in Arizona. The woman was discovered on April 3, 2021, when the Yuma County Sheriff's Office received an emergency call from an individual who stated he and two other people were in medical distress. The woman was already deceased when Border Patrol agents reached the area.


March 28, 2021

CBP Issues Statement Regarding Death in Custody in Tucson
CBP reported that a 29-year-old man from Guatemala died at the Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tucson, AZ, on 3/27/21. The man was apprehended by Border Patrol agents on 3/25 and was transferred to the hospital on 3/26 after showing signs of medical distress and experiencing a cardiac arrest.


March 10, 2021

CBP Issues Statement on Death in Custody at Eagle Pass, Texas
CBP issued a statement regarding the death of an adult male in CBP custody in Eagle Pass, Texas, on March 10, 2021. Agents called for medical services after the individual began exhibiting signs of medical distress. He passed away shortly after.


2020 Announcements

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December 16, 2020

CBP Issues Statement on Agent Involved Shooting in New Mexico
CBP issued a statement regarding an agent involved shooting in New Mexico on 12/16/20. The incident occurred when CBP agents pursued a vehicle that failed to yield at an immigration checkpoint near Las Cruces. Agents exchanged gun fire with a man in the vehicle, who was later pronounced deceased.


November 7, 2020

CBP Releases Statement Regarding Agent-Involved Collision Death in Calexico
CBP issued a statement regarding the death of an individual in Calexico, California, as a result of an agent-involved vehicular collision.


November 2, 2020

CBP Releases Statement Regarding Fatality at U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint
CBP issued the following statement: “Shortly before 9 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1,2020 a vehicle failed to stop for secondary inspection at the Interstate 35 U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint. The driver bailed out of the vehicle, ran across the median and was struck by a southbound vehicle and is deceased.”


October 24, 2020

CBP Releases Statement on Agent-Involved Fatal Shooting in Laredo
CBP released a statement announcing the death of an individual driving a tractor-trailer on October 23, 2020. Per CBP, Border Patrol agents deployed lethal force to stop the driver from accelerating the vehicle. The driver died at the scene. A Border Patrol agent was also injured and transported to the hospital.


October 24, 2020

CBP Releases Statement on Agent-Involved Fatal Shooting in San Diego
CBP released a statement announcing the death of an adult Mexican national because of an agent-involved shooting. Per CBP, an altercation occurred when a Border Patrol agent sought to arrest the individual, during which the agent discharged his firearm.


October 18, 2020

CBP Issues Statement Regarding Death in Custody in Laredo
CBP issued a statement noting the death of a 36-year-old man from Mexico at a Laredo, TX, hospital on 10/17/20. The man was part of a group of four individuals encountered by CBP south of Laredo on 10/15/20. He was found to be unresponsive and transferred to the Laredo Medical Center where he died.


September 21, 2020

CBP Issues Statement Regarding Death in Custody in Arizona
CBP issued a statement regarding the death of a 30-year-old man from Mexico on September 21, 2020, in a Tucson area hospital. The man was in CBP custody when on September 20, 2020, he was transported to the hospital after showing symptoms of dehydration.


August 2, 2020

CBP Issues Statement Regarding Death in Custody in Arizona
CBP issued a statement regarding the death of a 33-year-old man from Mexico on August 1, 2020, at the Yuma Regional Medical Center in Yuma, AZ. CBP encountered the individual, who claimed to have been injured after falling off the border wall, on July 26, 2020.


July 15, 2020

CBP Releases Statement on Death in Custody in South Texas
CBP announced the death of a 28-year-old man at a local hospital in Texas. CBP agents in the Laredo Sector found the man in distress after having been alerted to his situation by the man’s friend. CBP rendered first aid and transported him to a local hospital where he passed away after several days.


July 8, 2020

CBP Issues Statement Regarding Death in Custody in South Texas
CBP issued a statement noting the death of a 39-year-old man from Mexico at a South Texas hospital on 7/7/20. The man was found by CBP on 7/4/20, laying unresponsive on the side of a road near Roma, Texas, and was transferred to a hospital in Laredo for severe heat related illness.


March 30, 2020

CBP Issues Statement on Death in Custody at the San Ysidro Port of Entry
CBP issued a statement noting that a 61-year-old U.S. citizen died after entering CBP custody at the San Ysidro port of entry on Sunday evening. The man was detained by CBP after he attempted to walk into a restricted area. The man was found unresponsive a few minutes later.


March 20, 2020

CBP Releases Statement Regarding Death of a Mexican Citizen
CBP reports the death of a Mexican man on 3/20/20 in Texas. The man was taken into custody by Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol agents that morning, and placed in a Border Patrol vehicle while agents continued apprehending more individuals. The man was unresponsive when agents returned to the vehicle.


March 11, 2020

CBP Statement on the Death of a 19-Year-Old Guatemalan Woman
CBP released a statement on the death of a 19-year-old, 8-month pregnant Guatemalan woman on 3/10/20 in an El Paso, TX, hospital. El Paso Sector Border Patrol agents encountered the woman and another Guatemalan in Clint, TX, on 3/7/20. The woman reportedly fell from the steel mesh border barrier.


February 5, 2020

CBP Releases Statement on Death in Custody of 32-Year-Old U.S. Citizen
CBP released a statement noting the death of James Paul Markowitz, 32, a U.S. citizen, on February 4, 2020, after he was arrested by border patrol agents assigned to the Brackettville Station. Markowitz was taken to a local hospital after he began exhibiting signs of distress during processing.

2019 Announcements

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December 26, 2019

CBP Issues Statement on Death of Congolese National in Laredo
CBP released a statement regarding the death of a 41-year-old Congolese woman who passed away at the Laredo Medical Center on December 25, 2019. The woman had been held in overnight holding and was awaiting final processing at the Lincoln Juarez Bridge. Per CBP, she had a prior medical condition.


December 22, 2019

CBP Issues Statement After Mexican Citizen Dies in CBP Custody
CBP issued a statement after a 42-year-old male Mexican citizen died at the East Hidalgo Detention Center on 12/21/19.


October 23, 2019

CBP Reports Death of 22-Year-Old Honduran Man After Being Struck By a Vehicle
CBP issued a statement after a 22-year-old Honduran man died after being hit by a vehicle as he tried to flee from U.S. Border Patrol.


October 22, 2019

CBP Reports Death of 49-Year-Old Mexican Man in Custody
CBP reports that a 49-year-old man from Mexico in CBP custody passed away on October 21, 2019, in a Southern Arizona hospital. The man was apprehended by Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents on October 20, 2019. Medical officials determined that he had a pre-existing heart condition.


August 2, 2019

CBP Reports Death of Salvadoran Man in CBP Custody in New Mexico
CBP released a statement noting the death of a 32-year-old man from El Salvador on 8/1/19 in Lordsburg, New Mexico. The man had been taken into custody by El Paso Station CBP agents and was being processed at the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station when, per CBP, he fell into medical distress.


July 5, 2019

CBP Reports Death of Nicaraguan Man in Arizona in CBP Custody
CBP reported that a 52-year-old man from Nicaragua was pronounced deceased on 7/5/19 after being rushed to the hospital. The man was part of a group of 36 individuals from Central America that surrendered to CBP agents west of Sasabe, AZ. CBP has initiated a review.


June 29, 2019

CBP Issues Statement Regarding Death of Salvadoran Man
CBP reported the death of a 43-year-old man from El Salvador who was rushed to the hospital after falling into medica distress.


June 26, 2019

CBP Issues Statement on Stillbirth in RGV
CBP reported that a pregnant woman from Honduras was apprehended in McAllen, Texas, and delivered a stillborn baby later that day.


June 3, 2019

CBP Issues Statement Regarding Death of Honduran National in Del Rio Sector
CBP issued a statement regarding the death of a Honduran woman in CBP custody after she collapsed upon arrival at the Eagle Pass Border Patrol Station. U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended the woman at the border in Eagle Pass, Texas.


June 2, 2019

CBP Issues Statement Regarding Death of Salvadoran National in Rio Grande Valley Sector
CBP issued a statement after a Salvadoran man died in CBP custody after suffering from an apparent seizure. U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended the man near the border in Roma, Texas.


May 20, 2019

CBP Announces 16-Year-Old Guatemalan National Died in Rio Grande Valley
CBP announced that a 16-year-old Guatemalan national passed away at the Weslaco Station in the Rio Grande Valley Sector. The individual was apprehended for illegal entry on 5/13/19, and was found unresponsive on 5/20/19. The cause of death is not known at this time.

On 9/16/21, DHS OIG released a report, stating that it has investigated the death, and determined USBP did not conduct adequate physical checks as required by national standards, but that the cause of death was H1N1 and bacterial/staph infections. Prosecution was declined.

El Paso Matters: New report shows “deeply troubling failures” by Border Patrol in boy’s death, key congressional leader says – September 17, 2021


April 6, 2019

CBP Announces Death of Individual After Border Encounter
CBP announced that Border Patrol agents from the Laredo Sector encountered a vehicle that failed to yield. When the car was stopped, an individual in the cab of the truck was unresponsive and later died at an area hospital.


March 18, 2019

The Office of Inspector General Completes Investigation of Mexican National who Died in U.S. Border Patrol Custody in El Paso, TX

DHS OIG issued a statement after a Mexican national died in U.S. border Patrol custody in El Paso, TX.


February 18, 2019

CBP Announces Mexican National Passes Away at McAllen Medical Center
CBP announced that a Mexican national previously apprehended by CBP passed away at McAllen Medical Center in McAllen, Texas. According to initial reporting, a 45-year-old Mexican national was apprehended by United States Border Patrol agents for illegal re-entry on February 2, 2019.

2018 Announcements

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December 25, 2018

DHS Announces Death of Guatemalan Child at Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center
DHS announced that an eight-year-old Guatemalan national died on December 25, 2018, after being apprehended by CBP. The child was transferred to the medical center on December 24, and was initially diagnosed by hospital staff with a common cold.


December 14, 2018

CBP Issues Statement on the Death of a Seven-Year-Old Child While in Custody
CBP released a statement as well as details surrounding the death of a child that occurred after she was apprehended along the southern border in the El Paso Sector.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 21032932.