MEXICO CITY — A Mexican man who had just been deported from the United States fell to his death Tuesday from a bridge near the Tijuana-San Diego border crossing.
A Mexican official with knowledge of the case, but who was not authorized to speak to the media, said it was unclear whether the man accidentally fell or intentionally jumped, but Mexican media cited bystanders and a Tijuana prosecutor who said the death appeared to be a suicide.
News of the death, which coincided with this week’s announcement that U.S. authorities are planning a major crackdown on immigrants living in the country illegally, sparked outrage in Mexico, with some tying the incident to President Donald Trump.
Guadalupe Olives Valencia, 44, tried to cross into the U.S. illegally on Monday, the Mexican official said. Olives was detained by U.S. immigration authorities, who deported him Tuesday morning.
Shortly after, Olives’ body was found on the ground near the El Chaparral border crossing. Next to it was a plastic bag, issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, that contained some of his possessions. Olives was pronounced dead at a hospital.
At least one Mexican newspaper reported that Olives had screamed about not wanting to return to Mexico before leaping to his death. The website of the newspaper Excelsior ran a story on Olives on a page labeled “the Trump era.”
Olives had worked illegally as a gardener in California for years to help provide for his three sons back in Mexico after his wife died, according to his niece, Yuriba Valles de Espinoza. In a telephone interview, she said Olives had been recently deported, and was intent on crossing back to the U.S. to work.
Valles de Espinoza said she believed her uncle threw himself off the bridge “in desperation over the deportation” because he had had trouble finding work in Mexico.
“He was doing this to take care of his children,” she said. “They were his entire life.”
Another family member, who asked not to be identified, said Olives tried to cross into the U.S. not to find work but because he was fleeing problems in Mexico.
After being deported on Tuesday, Olives was debriefed by Mexican immigration agents, who offered him food and transportation to a migrant shelter. But Olives decided to leave the immigration office on his own, the official said. The agents who spoke to him said he showed no signs of distress or mental illness, the official said.
On Facebook, family members of Olives’ mourned his death.
“We miss you so much,” wrote a niece, Jennifer Diaz. “You’re an angel.” (Los Angeles Times)