- Santiago Baten-Oxlag, an immigrant in custody of the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency, died of complications from COVID-19 on Sunday.
- The 34-year-old from Guatemala died in a hospital in Columbus, Georgia, that he had been transferred to from ICE’s Stewart Detention Center, in Lumpkin, Georgia.
- He’s the second immigrant to die from COVID-19 while in ICE custody — Carlos Escobar Mejia, from El Salvador, died from the virus earlier this month.
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An immigrant in custody of the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency died of COVID-19 complications on Sunday, marking the second death related to the novel coronavirus among people in ICE detainment.
Santiago Baten-Oxlag died in a hospital in Columbus, Georgia. He had been transferred there from ICE’s Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, according to an ICE notification to Congress reported by CBS News.
Baten-Oxlag had been at the hospital since April 17 and, according to CBS News, he was waiting to voluntarily return to his native Guatemala when he contracted the virus.
BuzzFeed News reported that Baten-Oxlag’s preliminary cause of death was “complications related to COVID-19.” It remains unknown if he had any underlying conditions.
The 34-year-old had been in ICE custody since March 2, when he was arrested at a probation office in Marietta, Georgia, following a conviction for driving under the influence, ICE told Buzzfeed News. He agreed to voluntarily leave the US on March 26.
Baten-Oxlag is the second immigrant to die from COVID-19 while in ICE custody — earlier this month, Carlos Escobar Mejia died from the virus at a San Diego-area hospital. ICE had reportedly been aware that Escobar Mejia had hypertension and diabetes before he contracted the virus.
Escobar Mejia, 57, was an immigrant from El Salvador who had lived in the US since the 1980s, after fleeing El Salvador’s US-fueled civil war. He was held at the Otay Mesa Detention Center near the US-Mexico border in San Diego since January 10.
As of May 16, 1,201 ICE detainees had tested positive for COVID-19, including 16 at the facility where Baten-Oxlag was being held. ICE hasn’t released any updated numbers in the days since.
As of last week, ICE was holding 26,000 people in its detention centers across the US.