The two deaths bring this year’s total to 17, compared to eight deaths in 2019, NBC News reports. ICE records show that 19 immigrants died in 2006.
Kuan Hui Lee died on Wednesday of a “massive intercranial hemorrhage” at a hospital in Miami, according to a statement made by ICE. He passed away a week after officers at ICE’s Krome Processing Center discovered him to be unresponsive. The 51-year-old was originally from Taiwan and had been in ICE custody for over six months. He was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol officers in January for overstaying his temporary visa, which ran out in 2004.
James Thomas Hill also died on Wednesday, at the Farmville Detention Center in Virginia. While the cause of death is unknown, an ICE spokesperson noted in a press release that the 72-year-old Canadian had tested positive for COVID-19. He had been hospitalized on July 10 after experiencing shortness of breath, with his test results coming back positive on July 11.
It’s been confirmed that at least three migrants have died from the virus while in ICE custody, excluding Hill’s suspected COVID death. Unsurprisingly, immigration centers are experiencing coronavirus outbreaks. There have been over 4,200 confirmed cases in ICE custody since February, with four deaths. As of Thursday, there are currently over 900 positive coronavirus cases in ICE custody.