Honduran Immigrant in ICE Custody Dies, Attorney Portela Comments

Rolando Meza Espinoza was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on April 1st, 2017 while the agents were seeking another individual suspected of illegally entering the country. While in detainment, Rolando notified ICE employees that he had been diagnosed with anemia, cirrhosis, and diabetes, but he only received medication for his diabetes. On June 8th, he collapsed and was taken to intensive care for medical treatment. Two days later, he passed away from internal bleeding and hemorrhagic shock.

Rolando’s family was not notified of his death, and only learned of it after calling the ICE facility on the 12th for an update on his condition. Now, surviving family members are working with Attorney Manuel Portela of The Portela Law Firm, P.C. for legal counseling.

In an interview with New York Daily News click here to read the article in full – Attorney Portela mentioned that it is believed that inadequate medical care while in ICE custody was the direct cause of Rolando’s death. On June 12th, ICE released an online statement that mentioned nine other immigrants who passed away during the 2017 fiscal year while in ICE custody. The sheer number of in-custody deaths could be indicative of serious negligence on part of ICE.

Rolando’s case is further convoluted by the fact that he was detained by ICE agents who were looking for another individual who reportedly looked nothing like Rolando. The ICE agents allegedly cited a 2005 deportation order against Rolando, which would have been impossible since he had obtained temporary protective status in 1999, up to 2015. The arguably overzealous nature of ICE and its ramped up detainments are a result of the Trump Administration’s promise to crackdown on undocumented immigrants and increase deportations, even if those targeted by ICE are not considered dangerous or disruptive.

This case is still developing and the Meza family has not yet decided what legal action should be taken next. You are encouraged to frequent the immigration law blog of The Portela Law Firm, P.C. for critical updates to this story. You can also contact the firm if you have an immigration law issue of your own that needs a New York immigration attorney’s attention.