Cameroon man dies in ICE custody in San Diego

Detainees at Otay Mesa immigration detention center in San Diego


The Hill  | A man from Cameroon died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody on Tuesday, the agency announced Wednesday.

Nebane Abienwi, a 37-year-old detainee, was rushed to a San Diego hospital on Thursday after he experienced a “hypertensive event” in the middle of the night, ICE wrote in a statement.

He was unresponsive to questions and appeared to be paralyzed on his left side after suffering from a brain bleed.

Abienwi stayed at the hospital and continued undergoing treatment until his death, ICE said. Doctors said the brain hemorrhage and resulting brain death as the causes of his passing.

He initially went to the border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, where he applied for admission into the U.S. on Sept. 5 but did not have the right documents, ICE said in the statement. He was transferred to ICE custody on Sept. 19.

ICE is reviewing the incident, writing in the statement that it is “committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody” and that fatalities are “exceedingly rare.”

An ICE spokeswoman did not provide any additional comment to The Hill.

The death marks the first in ICE custody since the start of fiscal year 2020 on Tuesday.

Eight detainees died in ICE custody during fiscal year 2019, with the most recent passing away in early September.

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