Photo: Jose Gutierrez after part of his skull was removed, following an altercation with border agents (Univision broadcast)
An undocumented immigrant who has been in a coma for weeks following an incident with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, could be deported despite being granted a “temporary stay” by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
On March 21, Jose Gutierrez, 41, was deported by the Los Angeles Immigration Court. Having lived in the U.S. since he was a child, he had no ties in the country. Though she had lost contact with him, his wife Shena Wilson, a U.S. citizen, believed he would try to return, as their youngest child, a 5-month-old, was in the hospital. However, she did not no of his whereabouts until she received a call from the Mexican consulate in Yuma, Arizona, saying, “We have to let you know there has been an accident.” She then went to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. Her husband was in a coma.
She learned that March 30, Gutierrez had made it to the inspection at the San Luis point of entry in Arizona. According to CBP agents, he “got scared and tried to run back.” They claim he tried to fight off CBP agents, and that is when they pulled out the taser.
CBP’s account is as follows:
An individual being processed for entering the country illegally March 30, at the San Luis Port attempted to flee into Mexico. The man was combative, ignored commands to halt and subsequently was subdued by CBP officers using an electronic control device (ECD). Initial reports say the man struck his head on the ground during the incident.
Emergency medical personnel responded to the scene and took him to a local area hospital for further medical attention.
We regret the injury and will continue to actively cooperate with the ongoing investigation.
Wilson said her husband is covered in taser marks, and has an out-of-place tooth. He has two black eyes, which the nurses told her was from the head injury, that required part of his skull to be removed to relieve pressure. She has been given no additional information, yet two ICE officers are standing outside the coma patients hospital room 24 hours a day.
Being told he has no rights in the U.S. because he is undocumented, Wilson said a St. Joseph’s social worker told him he is ineligible for care in the U.S.
“They tell me, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll move him back home,’” Wilson told LA Weekly “But he’s lived here all his life…‘Stop calling it his home.’”
In a statement sent to Weekly, St. Joseph’s Hospital said:
St. Joseph’s will never move a patient without a safe discharge plan. Our commitment is always to work in collaboration with the family to get their agreement on this plan. St. Joseph’s is dedicated to working with patients and their families to provide a safe discharge from its acute care setting to longer term care facilities when a patient needs this.”
Thursday afternoon, Wilson said that St. Joseph’s Hospital told her that they would not keep Gutierrez past Friday. They stated that even though he is in a coma and requires a respirator to breathe, he would be deported and sent to Cima Hospital in Hermosillo, Mexico.
She said a doctor told her, “Don’t worry. He can take his respirator with him.”
Still in a coma, Gutierrez’s temperature fluctuates between 99 and 102 degrees, and he has a mild case of pneumonia.
Gutierrez and Wilson have two children, but he has three children from a previous relationship, including a 15-year-old daughter that describes him as “a great guy” who is “so optimistic.” Gutierrez is a film engineer, and is also the frontman for the popular Spanish-rock band FZ10. In fact, he had written a song called “ICE,” in which he sings of the criminalization of immigration in the U.S.
Below is a video of Gutierrez with FZ10 performing “ICE”. He is the one singing and playing the bass.