James Paul Markowitz, a United States citizen, is the latest detainee to die while under Border Patrol custody.
Just when we thought all the disastrous news from the south of the border was coming to an end, a United States citizen has passed away while in the custody of Customs and Border Patrol services. The victim was identified as James Paul Markowitz, who, at 32 years of age, was arrested by Border Patrol agents for reportedly smuggling immigrants across the US-Mexico border. Though this allegation was not yet proven, he was placed under arrest, where he began showing signs of distress. He was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead almost immediately upon arrival, The Huffington Post reports.
Markowitz was arrested on Tuesday after being identified as a suspect in an "alien smuggling incident." Border Patrol agents from a station in Brackettville, Texas, arrested him at 3:30 pm. He was taken to the station, where he was being processed. At this time, he started displaying serious signs of distress. While EMT-certified agents had administered first aid, he was still visibly shaken. The station also called local Emergency Medical Services, but his condition continued to deteriorate. Therefore, he was transferred to a local hospital. Sadly, he did not make it. Markowitz was officially pronounced dead at 9:37 pm.
According to a statement issued by CBP, Markowitz first began showing signs of distress at about 6 pm. Emergency services showed up around 40 minutes later and took him to the hospital. However, the agency did not share any more details about his unfortunate death. On the same day, another person was allegedly arrested for "smuggling." While the two arrests and Markowitz's death were not explicitly connected, Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz claimed both incidents involved “smugglers.” He asserted in a statement, "The swift response of our agents and law enforcement partners helped put a stop to an extremely dangerous situation. Smugglers continue to endanger the lives of those in our communities without hesitation. Thanks to the excellent communication and cooperation between our agents and law enforcement partners, the pursuit ended safely with no injuries to the community or law enforcement." The statement did not make mention of Markowitz's tragic passing.
This is only one of the several deaths to occur under Border Patrol custody, CNN reports. In late 2018, two young Guatemalans lost their lives while under CBP custody. In December of the same year, seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin died of sepsis a mere two days after he had been detained with his father. A few weeks later, it was Felipe Gómez Alonzo who lost his life at only eight years old while similarly in CBP custody. Finally, late last year, 16-year-old Carlos Gregorio Hernandez died at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas. His death went viral across the internet when a video of the sick Guatemalan boy surfaced online. Without a doubt, Border Patrol has blood on its hands. It's time to do better.