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Adult Migrant From Mexico Dies In Border Patrol Custody

A segment of the border fence in the Rio Grande Valley. (Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune)

By Julián Aguilar, Texas Tribune

An adult migrant has died after being taken into U.S. Border Patrol custody this month in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.

The 45-year-old undocumented immigrant from Mexico died Monday morning after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure and cirrhosis of the liver. The immigrant's death was first reported by USA Today.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection news release, the immigrant was encountered by the police department in Roma, Texas, a small border community between Laredo and Mission, on Feb. 2. The person, who wasn’t identified, then requested medical attention.

The person was released after being treated at a Mission hospital and turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol but was later taken to a McAllen hospital after a welfare check by Border Patrol agents. The person died Monday morning, according to the news release.

The death marks the third time an immigrant has died after being taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol in the last two months.

In December, Jakelin Caal Maquin, 7, died after she and her father were apprehended as part of a large group of undocumented immigrants near Antelope Wells, N.M., which is in the El Paso sector of the U.S. Border Patrol. About two weeks later, Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, 8, died after he was apprehended in El Paso and transferred to a nearby hospital in New Mexico after falling ill. Both children were from Guatemala.

The deaths of the children prompted Customs and Border Protection to call for health screenings of children 10 or younger and sparked outrage among Congressional Democrats, including the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

In a statement about the most recent death, a CBP spokesperson called the situation “tragic" and offered condolences to the deceased’s family.