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Secrecy and Reckless Disregard for Human Life

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Despite Congressional Reporting Requirements, Trump Administration Hides Suicide of Distraught Dad Separated Under Family Separation Policy

One month after the incident, the Washington Post reported on the suicide of a Honduran man, Marco Antonio Muñoz, separated from his three-year-old son and wife by the Border Patrol under Trump’s family separation policy:  

Soon after Muñoz and his family were taken into custody, they arrived at a processing station in nearby McAllen and said they wanted to apply for asylum. Border Patrol agents told the family they would be separated. That’s when Muñoz “lost it,” according to one agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the incident.


“They had to use physical force to take the child out of his hands.”

Munoz was found dead in his isolated cell less than 24 hours later.

Without the Washington Post’s report, this incident may not have become public, despite legal requirements (1) to report deaths in custody to Congress within 24 hours and on an annual basis.

Ur Jaddou, Director of DHS Watch, a new project of America’s Voice, said:

On top of the Trump Administration’s reckless disregard for the devastating consequences of its policy to children and parents, the death of Mr. Munoz and the lack of disclosure shows a stunning disregard for transparency and accountability. Transparency is essential so that the public, Congress, and the federal government can make informed decisions on policy, especially those that strike at the family and result in loss of human life.  It is time for Congress, and not just Democrats in Congress, to demand that CBP follow reporting requirements. The alternative – deaths in detention that are kept secret – is unacceptable and dangerous.

(1)The Joint Explanatory Statement of the FY 2018 Appropriations Act states that “language set forth in House Report 115–239 carries the same weight as language included in this joint explanatory statement….”  House Report 115-239 states:

The Committee continues to direct CBP to report the death of any individual in CBP custody or the death of any individual subsequent to the use of force by CBP personnel within 24 hours, including relevant details regarding the circumstances of the fatality.