Two deaths in ICE detention in four days — ICE is an integral part of the deadly police infrastructure

For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, July 16, 2020

Washington, DC — This week Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported two deaths of people in its custody, Onoval Pérez-Montufa, 51, who died Sunday after contracting the coronavirus and Luis Sánchez-Pérez, 46, who died yesterday on July 15. 

Silky Shah, Executive Director of Detention Watch Network offered the following statement in response:

“We’ve said it numerous times before and unfortunately we have to say it again with two more lives tragically lost this week alone: people are in jeopardy in ICE custody. And not only are we saying it, we’ve proven it with report after report that details the experience of people in detention where medical neglect and abuse run rampant. Despite this, and the numerous investigations revealing egregious conditions by the Department of Homeland Security’s own Office of Inspector General, ICE continues to operate with a culture of secrecy, complete lack of accountability, and skyrocketing budget approved by Congress.

At a time of a national reckoning over the killings of Black people and people of color by law enforcement, we have to not only raise the alarm, but see ICE as an integral part of the deadly police infrastructure. ICE, just like the police, needs to be defunded.”

Investigations into deaths in immigration detention:

  • June 20, 2018: Code Red: The Fatal Consequences of Dangerously Substandard Medical Care in Immigration Detention
  • May 8, 2017: Systemic Indifference: Dangerous and Substandard Medical Care in US Immigration Detention
  • February 2016: Fatal Neglect: How ICE Ignores Deaths in Detention


Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention. Visit Follow @DetentionWatch.