Because he was neither a famous chef nor an iconic fashion designer, because he was just an immigrant, Marco Antonio Muñoz’s suicide last month never made headlines.
And because his death is rooted in Border Patrol’s inhumane practice of separating children from their parents, it’s likely that his story will never be widely known.
In early May, Muñoz, his wife, and their 3-year-old son attempted to cross the border to seek asylum from their native country of Honduras, which has been experiencing epidemic levels of violence and homicide.
Once they arrived, the entire family was broken apart.
When told that his family would be separated, Muñoz became extremely upset, and eventually was transferred from the Rio Grande Valley immigration detention center to the Starr County jail due to “disruptive and combative” behavior.
Officers apparently had to use physical force to remove the child from his father’s arms.
According to the jail’s report, Muñoz was placed in a padded cell under surveillance.
Despite officers reportedly checking on him every thirty minutes, they found him unresponsive in his cell after having tied his sweater around a drain grate in the floor which he looped around his neck. He then rolled over several times to cut off circulation, eventually strangling himself.
He was pronounced dead at 10 a.m.
The United Nations has strongly encouraged the United States government to put an immediate stop to the inhumane practice of separating immigrant children from their parents, calling the practice “arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life.”