On Saturday June 13, over 200 detainees in the Eloy Detention Center claimed to have began a hunger strike in response to the death of Jose Sahagun, according to the Puente Human Rights Movement. ICE disputed the claim and issued a statment that “no detainees have declared a hunger strike related to this protest.”
Only a handful of people attended the protest organized by Puente. According to the group, they are a grassroots migrant justice organization based in Phoenix, Arizona.
Jose de Jesus Deniz-Sahagun, 31, was transferred to ICE custody May 18 following his arrest three days earlier by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the port of entry in Douglas. Deniz was taken into custody by CBP officers after he ran into the pedestrian lane at the border crossing. Shortly after 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, the center’s staff found Deniz unresponsive in his cell. Efforts by Eloy personnel and emergency responders to revive him were unsuccessful. Deniz had no signs of apparent injury.
Department of Homeland Security databases indicate Deniz has been repatriated to Mexico twice in the last four years, including an expedited removal in April 2013 following his arrest by the U.S. Border Patrol near Calexico, California. At the time of his death, Deniz was awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge on his pending removal case.
Deniz is the fourth detainee to pass away in ICE custody in fiscal year 2015.