News ID: 216544
Published: 0406 GMT June 11, 2018

Immigrant dies of suicide in Texas jail after separation from family

Immigrant dies of suicide in Texas jail after separation from family

An undocumented immigrant from the Central American nation of Honduras was found dead in a jail cell in the US state of Texas of an "apparent suicide" last month after his wife and son were separated from him at the US-Mexico border, US authorities have confirmed.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a statement Saturday confirming the death of Marco Antonio Munoz but made no mention of details in a report by The Washington Post that the man was enraged after he was separated from his wife and son.

Munoz was apprehended at the Weslaco, Texas, border station on May 11 and transferred to the Rio Grande Valley immigration processing center, the CBP statement said, Presstv Reported.

The statement said that while Munoz was being processed, he "became disruptive and combative" and was transferred to the Starr County jail where he was found unresponsive on May 13.

However, the statement did not mention that Munoz was with his wife and 3-year-old son when he was separated, the Post reported, citing unnamed CBP agents.

Nearly 1,800 immigrant families were separated at the US-Mexico border from October 2016 through February 2018, amid a crackdown on undocumented immigrants by the administration of President Donald Trump.

The number of family separations has risen sharply in recent weeks, largely because of new policies by the Trump administration.

Between May 6 and May 19, 658 children were separated from 638 parents because of the stepped-up prosecutions, according to CBP, bringing the total of officially acknowledged separations to more than 2,400.

Trump has made his hard-line stance on immigration an integral part of his presidency and has promised to build a wall along the US-Mexican border to curb the flow of migrants from Mexico and Central America.

In a separate incident, an Eritrean national who was denied asylum in the United States and was being sent back to his homeland also died Wednesday in an apparent suicide in a holding area at Cairo International Airport in Egypt.  

Zeresenay Ermias Testfatsion, 34, was deported from the US and was being held by Egyptian authorities at the airport, awaiting his return to Asmara, Eritrea.

Testfatsion had been in the custody of US immigration agencies since February 2017 following his arrest in Texas after he tried to unlawfully enter the United States, according to US immigration officials.

During Testfatsion’s 16-month detention in the US, he spent time at centers in Pampano Beach, Florida, and Youngstown, Ohio, court records show.



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