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October 14, 2022Denver, CO, United StatesDetainee Death Notifications

Nicaraguan man in ICE custody passes away at Colorado hospital

DENVER – A Nicaraguan national in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) passed away Oct. 13 at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. An autopsy is pending to determine the official cause of death.

Melvin Ariel Calero-Mendoza, 39, was apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol while illegally entering the U.S. and issued a notice to appear Apr 13. Calero was transferred to ICE custody May 2 in Aurora, Colorado to await completion of his removal proceedings.

An Immigration Judge with the Executive Office of Immigration Review issued a written decision ordering Calero removed and denying all relief Oct. 5. There is a 30-day period reserved before action is taken to accommodate any appeals.

This is the third death in the 38-year history of operations of the detention facility. The last death of a detainee at the facility occurred in 2017.

Consistent with the ICE protocols, the appropriate components have been notified about the death, including the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG), and the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). Additionally, ICE notified the Nicaraguan consulate in Houston, Texas of Calero’s death. The Denver Field Office staff notified the next of kin.

ICE is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of this incident, 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.

The ICE Health Service Corps ensures the provision of necessary medical care services as required by ICE Performance-Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS) and based on the medical needs of the individual. Comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment individuals arrive and throughout the entirety of their stay. All people in ICE custody 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 medical appointments and 24-hour emergency care. Pursuant to our commitment to the welfare of those in the agency’s custody, ICE annually spends more than $315 million on the spectrum of healthcare services provided to people in ICE custody.