June 17, 2024

Nigerian taken into ICE custody dies after less than a day in apparent suicide

Barbed wire fencing is shown behind a gate to a recreation yard used by detainees during a media tour of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, in Tacoma, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

A 56-year-old Nigerian man was found unresponsive in his cell while in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Saturday morning and his cause of death is believed to be suicide.

According to the New York Daily News, Anthony Oluseye Akinyemi had been in the custody of ICE at the Worcester County Jail in Snow Hill, Md. In a statement released by ICE, officials claim Akinyemi had been in custody for less than 24 hours after being convicted of sexually assaulting a minor in Baltimore on Friday.

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ICE’s statement went on to say that they had initially lodged a detainer against Akinyemi back in July when he was initially arrested. They also claimed that he came to the U.S. in December 2017 on a non immigrant visa, but did not comply with the terms of his admission.

Even though officials would not confirm a cause of death, it was apparently a self-inflicted strangulation. However, they did address concerns over the string of fatalities among individuals in ICE custody.

“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,” the statement read, “as it does in all such cases. Fatalities in ICE custody, statistically, are exceedingly rare and occur at a fraction of the national average for the U.S. detained population.”

Though Akinyemi was being held in Maryland and had been convicted of a crime, a recent report revealed that the amount of African migrants at the U.S.-Mexican border has drastically increased over the last year. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the amount has more than doubled to 5,800 compared to around 2,700 from 2018.

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Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) visited African migrants in November and found that many migrants have died because of mistreatment based on their race, and a denial of needed medical services.

“There are record numbers of African immigrants seeking asylum at the U.S. border, particularly as Europe closes its doors to migrants,” the CBC wrote in a statement.

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