SAN DIEGO – A 62-year-old Mexican woman in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) died Wednesday night at the Alvarado Hospital in La Mesa, California. An autopsy is pending to determine the official cause of death.
Augustina Ramirez-Arreola was pronounced dead by medical staff at the hospital at approximately 10:45 p.m. At the time her death, hospital staff identified the preliminary cause of death as complications from surgery. Ms. Ramirez had been transferred to the hospital earlier in the day for scheduled surgery to treat a heart abnormality.
According to DHS records, Ms. Ramirez-Arreola applied for admission into the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry without proper entry documents on May 21, 2018. She was processed as an Expedited Removal case and transferred to ICE custody at the Otay Mesa Detention Center on June 3, 2018, pending the outcome of her immigration proceedings. She was ordered removed by an Immigration Judge on July 23, 2018 and was pending removal to Mexico at the time of her death.
Ms. Ramirez-Arreola was previously processed as an Expedited Removal on Nov. 20, 2013 after applying for admission into the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry without proper entry documents. She was returned to Mexico on Nov. 22, 2013. Database checks indicate she has no criminal history in the U.S.
Consistent with the agency’s protocols, the appropriate state health and local law enforcement agencies have been notified about this death, as have the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility. Additionally, ICE has notified the Consulate of Mexico in San Diego of Ms. Ramirez’ death.
Ms. Ramirez is the ninth detainee to pass away in ICE custody in fiscal year 2018, which began Oct. 1, 2017.
ICE’s Health Service Corps (IHSC) ensures the provision of necessary medical care services as required by ICE Performance-Based National Detention Standards and based on the medical needs of the detainee. Comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment detainees arrive and throughout the entirety of their stay. All ICE detainees receive medical, dental and mental health intake screening within 12 hours of arriving at each detention facility, a full health assessment within 14 days of entering ICE custody or arrival at a facility, and access to daily sick call and 24-hour emergency care. Pursuant to our commitment to the welfare of those in the agency’s custody, ICE annually spends more than $250 million on the spectrum of healthcare services provided to detainees.