Supporters rally after Brentwood man dies in ICE custody

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BRENTWOOD -

Supporters held a vigil for a Brentwood man who died behind bars in the custody of federal immigration authorities.

"My dad was a human being, and they had no right under the eyes of the law to deny him the help he needed," says Katherine Espinoza, the man's daughter.

Roland Meza Espinoza, a 35-year-old Honduran immigrant, died two weeks ago after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained him. Immigrant advocates say Espinoza is the 10th person to die in ICE custody since October.

"It's not the first time that somebody died in a detention center, because they do not take our people seriously," says Gabby Andrade, of the immigration advocacy group Make the Road New York. "They don't give them medication. They don't take them to the hospital when they have to."

Espinoza's attorney says he died needlessly -- his pre-existing illnesses went untreated while in custody. His death sparked outrage from Long Island to New Jersey, where he was detained and where protesters have also rallied.

ICE agents took him into custody while he was at work doing construction in Brentwood on April 1.

Espinoza's attorney says the father of four was wrongfully detained because a review of ICE documents showed Espinoza was mistaken for another undocumented immigrant.

"We demand justice for the family and a full independent investigation of ICE and its detention practices," says Reyna Andru, another member of Make the Road.

ICE officials did not return News 12's calls for comment. Espinoza's relatives say they plan to file a civil lawsuit.

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