Father of four ‘bled to death’ under ICE custody

A girl holds a sign to support Rolando Meza Espinoza, a name that had been used by Carlos Bonilla. He died while in custody of ICE./ (Photo: Keldy Ortiz/NorthJersey.com file photo)

Joanna Bonilla lost her father in 2017 to internal bleeding from liver disease that went untreated. She didn’t get to say goodbye to her immigrant father who passed away in a hospital alone while in U.S. custody.

Migrant children at the border./ colorlines.com

Joanna can’t get her dad back, but she can seek justice. That’s why she’s now suing CGB Health Systems LLC, the medical provider at Hudson County jail at the time of her father’s death. She’s heartbroken that things have worsened in immigrant detention facilities since her father Carlos Bonilla’s death.

Carlos Bonilla and his daughter. (Photo: Courtesy of Hudson Civic Action)

Carlos’ case echoes the lives of migrants in search of a better life who have died while in U.S. custody. The Salvadoran father of four lived in the U.S. for 25 years, and owned a construction company with his brother. He was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in April 2017 while working at a construction site. 

A combination of a broken immigration systems, inept staff and an increasingly anti-immigrant rhetoric have added to the recent spike in deaths of migrants in detention. They include five children and two adult trans immigrants, many who had medical issues that went undiagnosed or untreated.