A 35-year-old Honduran immigrant died June 10 after he was mistakenly taken into custody by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), his attorneys said.
Rolando Meza Espinoza, of New Jersey, died after more than two months in a correctional facility, even while his lawyer told ICE that this had been a case of mistaken identity, pointing out that a photo used to identity Espinoza did not look like him, his lawyer claimed.
Espinoza’s family was not informed that he had died until two days after his demise, NorthJersey.com reported.
ICE claims a different man died in custody, a 44-year-old Salvadoran national named Carlos Bonilla who was admitted to a hospital due to gastrointestinal bleeding.
In both accounts, it isn’t clear why the bleeding started. The family is awaiting an autopsy report.
“It’s a broken family,” said Espinoza’s lawyer, Manuel Portella. “The sad thing is that he left his common law wife of 10 years, an 8-year-old child who is a U.S. citizen along with two step children.”
Portella said that the family plans to file a civil suit in the case.
Espinoza is the 10th person to die in ICE custody since October, a statement by ICE said. The detention center he was staying at, Hudson County Correctional Facility, is the subject of a recent civil rights complaint filed with the Department of Homeland Security by watchdog activists, who claim that the facility has unsafe living conditions, the New York Times reported.