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Questions to Ask as We Mourn Another Tragic Loss
ICE Deaths Exceed FY22 Total As ADP Keeps Rising
A forty-two year-old man from Nicaragua is gone. ICE says his name is Ernesto Rocha-Cuadra. We know better than to take such representations at face value. ICE has been wrong before, after all, about something as basic as a person’s name.
The person ICE tells us is named Ernesto died June 23, 2023, at the LaSalle General Hospital in Jena, Louisiana. They say he died of cardiac arrest. Forensic pathologists will tell you that means your heart stopped. Sort of a requirement of dying. But not an actual cause. As a result, “hospital officials” don’t say things like “the person died of their heart stopping.” But here, ICE explains, is the person they call Eduardo’s “preliminary cause of death.” Useless, fact-free information. A void.
Into this void we must fill not just our pain but our creativity, our compassion, and our collective demand for honest, complete human- (not ‘preserving the system’)-centered answers.
Here are some questions that might help frame our demand:
Was his family notified that he was sick before he died?
Was he caged because he could not afford bond, or the lawyer to secure one?
Who will pay for his family to recover his remains and begin their mourning?
What was the upward limit on how much the US government would spend to imprison him?
What is the limit the US government will spend to return this man’s remains promptly, compassionately, and honorably to his family?
When will a US official brief this person’s family on how he died?
When will a US official brief the public on how he died?
Why was he imprisoned for profit in a place where the US government cannot say definitively whether a prior death (Roger Rayson’s) was a homicide?
Why did the US government pay a contractor who’d seen more than 6 prior deaths to imprison this man?
And why is it that ICE would continue representing to the public that all people get care in custody, and people have access to everything they need, when more than 3 of 5 mortality reviews allow the conclusion that people died preventable deaths?