ICE Detainee Commits Suicide, and a Not-So Modest Proposal (w/Update)

Watch A clip from The Undocumented on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.

Please see update below.

I have very little to go on with the press release below from U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement concerning the "apparent suicide" at the Eloy Detention Center by a 24 year-old Guatemalan woman named Elsa Guadalupe-Gonzales.

Getting info out of the feds is like pulling wisdom teeth with a pair of pliers. Sometimes that's because of confidentiality rules. Sometimes it's because, hey, it's the federal government, which can pretty much do whatever the hell it wants.

I received the info from ICE late in the day. Hopefully, I can get more information tomorrow.

Many of you will not be sympathetic. She broke the law, she deserved her fate. That is what many will think, albeit in the abstract.

A lack of empathy is a failure of imagination, a failure to see that there but for the grace of God or just dumb luck goes you or someone you care about.

Watch This clip from The Undocumented spotlights the work of Derechos Humanos on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.

I also find it ironic that so many people who believe themselves to be Christians are so uncharitable in their views of the undocumented. They claim to believe in eternal life, in good and evil, and forgiveness. Their actions and their contempt for others tell another story.

PBS aired a brilliant documentary Monday night, called simply The Undocumented, which explores the trials of those trying to make it through the Arizona desert, in hopes of work or just being reunited with family.

The immigration bill backed by the Gang of Eight calls for the further militarization of the border, and the expansion of Operation Streamline, which hits migrants with federal criminal charges after they are captured by the U.S. Border Patrol.

But the lesson of U.S. immigration policy is that by making it more difficult to come to the U.S., you make it more deadly, as migrants find more remote and rugged areas to cross.


No More Deaths

: The Border Patrol's finest at work (this video was not in the documentary, natch)

So I fear the immigration bill as proffered will increase suffering, not alleviate it, when it comes to the ongoing humanitarian crisis on the Mexico-U.S. border.

The plight of the 11 or 12 million here is another issue. For that, the first step should be an immediate halt to all deportations pending the passage of comprehensive immigration reform. The second should be the release of all non-violent undocumented persons in ICE custody.

Pie in the sky, maybe. All the same, it would be the right thing to do.

PHOENIX - A Guatemalan woman in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) passed away Sunday at the Eloy Detention Center, of an apparent suicide.

Elsa Guadalupe-Gonzales, 24, was found unresponsive in her cell Sunday evening by another detainee, who found her hanging. Detention facility staff immediately called 911. Emergency medical technicians responded to the scene, but were unable to revive Guadalupe-Gonzales. She was pronounced dead at 6:06 p.m.

Guadalupe-Gonzales, who had recently crossed the border unlawfully, originally came into ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations custody after she was encountered March 18 by U.S. Border Patrol near Nogales, Ariz. She had been detained at the Eloy Detention Center since March 20, awaiting immigration hearings related to her removal case. While at Eloy, Guadalupe-Gonzales received two routine medical screenings, but did not seek any medical or mental health treatment.

ICE has notified the Guatemalan consulate. Consistent with ICE protocol, the appropriate state health and local law enforcement agencies have also been informed.

UPDATE May 1, 2013 7:23 PM: I have a little more info on the suicide of Elsa Guadalupe-Gonzales at Eloy Detention Center.

According to my sources, the woman hanged herself with her shoelaces, from her bunk bed. She left no note.

She has family in the United States, who were contacted prior to ICE making its press release.

Guadalupe-Gonzales was subject to expedited removal, but as the release states, she was awaiting a court hearing. She was not part of Operation Streamline, which charges immigrants criminally in federal court.

That's all for now. More when and if I get it.

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