A 37-year-old man from Cameroon died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody on Tuesday, after suffering a brain hemorrhage in a San Diego detention center.
Nebane Abienwi, the seventh adult to die in immigrant detention this year, had been in U.S. government custody for nearly a month after applying for admission into the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry “without proper entry documents” on Sept. 5, according to an ICE release. Abienwi had been in the agency’s custody since Sept. 19, held at the Otay Mesa Detention Center roughly one and a half miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.
After Abienwi experienced “a hypertensive event in the middle of the night” last Thursday, ICE Health Service Corps staff contacted local emergency services. Abienwi, who appeared to be paralyzed on his left side and was unresponsive to medical staff, was transferred to nearby Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, ICE said, where he passed away on Tuesday.
Medical staff initially identified the cause of Abienwi’s death as brain death secondary to a basal ganglia hemorrhage. A spokesperson for the medical center did not immediately respond to questions regarding Abienwi’s death or stay at Sharp Chula Vista.
“Mr. Abienwi’s next of kin and the Consulate General of Cameroon were notified of his death,” ICE said in the statement. “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, as it does in all such cases.”
Reached for comment, ICE spokesperson Lauren Mack told The Daily Beast that the agency does not confirm or deny “whether a person in our custody applied for asylum.”
ICE directed The Daily Beast to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for more details about his time in that agency’s custody. CBP, in turn, referred The Daily Beast to ICE.