Brazilian Dies While Being Held by US Immigration Agents

Brazilian illegal Edimar Araújo US-resident Brazilian Irene Araújo had a little problem earlier this week. She was worried on how she would break the news to her mother back in Ipatinga, Minas Gerais state, Brazil, that her brother (and the old lady's son), Edimar Alves Araújo, 34, had been detained by the Rhode Island police for a traffic violation and that he might be deported.

She shouldn't have worried. Things couldn't have turned worse. Edimar is dead. He died while being held by immigration agents and Irene blames the authorities for the death accusing them of refusing to accept the epilepsy medicine she brought to the police station for her brother to take. 

Edimar Araújo, an illegal immigrant, worked in a gas station in Milford, Massachusetts where he had lived for five years and had driven to nearby Woonsocket, Rhode Island, to visit his sister and a brother. He, according to friends, had the intention to move with them and work as a painter.

According to the sister's story, Araújo called her on Tuesday, August 7, around noon, soon after having been stopped by the police. He then asked her to bring his medicine, Gardenal, an epilepsy drug he had to take daily to prevent seizures.

Irene says that she tried twice to give the medication to the Woonsocket policemen but she was rebuffed with a "if he wanted the medicine he would ask for it."

After stopping Araújo the police of Woonsocket, a town just outside of Providence, found out that there was a 2002 deportation warrant against him. He was first taken to the city's police station and then handed over to the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents.

He became ill around 3 pm when already at ICE. Authorities called 911 and he was taken to the hospital where he died at about 4 pm.

Paula Grenier, a spokeswoman for the ICE, said that Araújo never complained about any health problem and didn't look sick during his trip from the police station to the deportation processing center.

According to her, they were told by the police that Araújo had diabetes and not epilepsy. Grenier informed reporters that an inquiry has already started to find out why the Brazilian man died.

"This all unfolded in a very short period of time," she said. "We began processing him. The situation deteriorated. He showed signs of physical distress."

Vera Dias-Freitas, an activist with a  religious community to which Araújo belonged said that the Araújo family is "devastated, frustrated… This was a preventable death. His sister tried to convince the policeman that her brother needed medical care, but he wouldn't listen to her. The person who denied him the medication denied literally his right to live."

Police have a different story. They say they only learned about Araújo's disease after he had been taken to the ICE detention center. They acknowledged that Irene came to the police station at around 3:30 after her brother had already left with the immigration agents.

Woonsocket Police Chief Michael L.A. Houle said officers heard from a family friend that the Brazilian was diabetic. When Irene came to the police station around 3:30 pm, with the medication, he had already been handed to the ICE.

According to the police report, Araújo was stopped in his Plymouth Breeze by Lieutenant Kenneth Paulhus, a 16-year veteran policeman, while driving the wrong way on Social Street. He could not show a driver license and was then arrested. Asked for his name he gave a false one. Only a fingerprint check revealed his real identity and the fact that he was wanted by the justice for 5 years.

Paulhus said that he had a friendly chat with Araújo while waiting for the ICE agents arrival. During that time, according to the officer's account, Araújo, in a halting English, talked about his life in Brazil and an accident on a roof, which left him some scars.

The officer said he never asked the Brazilian about his health, but he guarantees that the illegal man never complained about any ailment.

Brazil's Foreign Relations Ministry announced Friday, August 10, that the American authorities had informed them about the death and that the Brazilian government would help the family to get the body released and closely follow the investigations on the death of Araújo.


  • Show Comments (17)

  • bo

    [quote]Reasonble people would understand that it means the same thing, but not the Brazilian burocracy[/quote]

    Don’t have to tell me a thing bud…been through hell and high water in this country over the last decade.

  • Michael William

    Bo, get this. I am a “Junior” meaning I have the same name as my father. In my passport, it is abbreviated(Jr.). On the birth certificate of my son, it is spelled out. Reasonble people would understand that it means the same thing, but not the Brazilian burocracy. This minor discrepancy allowed the first Visa application to be rejected. Then, I had to do a formal court process to change the birth certificate, which took almost four months. So I am now starting the process over.

    As for U.S.immigration, the problem is not having laws on the books…it is the complete lack of enforcement.

  • bo

    [quote]But you are right that it is much more difficult to get away with it in Brazil. I have two children there and am thus constitutionally eligible for permanent visa status…but it has been a total nightmare and without the precious ID number…not CPF, that is easy- it is impossible to do anything. Then again, look at unemployment numbers in Brazil.[/quote]

    If you have children in Brazil it shouldn’t be a problem getting your permanent visa, RNE number. You will have to wait although. I received mine approximately 1.5 years after I applied and it would’ve been longer but my ex-wife had to go to Brasilia on business and went to the department where they process them. She said there was a desk with literally 100’s of folders stacked up on top of one another. She asked the clerk about my visa. The clerk searched and searched through the folders, finally pulled mine out and said, “oh, here it is, he’s all set”, and I got it in the mail within a couple weeks. Who knows how long it would’ve been if my ex hadn’t gone there personally.

    [quote]And itÀ‚´s been a long time since they have been this riled up. If Washington doesnÀ‚´t appear to be doing something, they are in for a rough ride, no matter what the interests say.[/quote]

    You got that right Ric. Been a long time since this many americans have been so riled over one particular issue. The american people have spoken, and nearly unanimously. Immigration law is going to change or many politicians seats will.

  • bo

    [quote]I know Brazilians that went to the states illegally, acheived citizen status, paid FICA, got proof of disability from crooked American/Brazilian doctors, and are now back in Brazil getting disability checks every month from the American SS system.[/quote]

    Real shame. They need to put people like that in prison.

  • bo

    And now we know more…
    He was already picked up for drugs previously. Lay anyone 10-1 odds that he was carrying and swallowed what he had when he saw he was getting pulled over. He must’ve been really fucked up to have been driving the wrong way on a one way while carrying drugs.

    Not too smart.

  • doggydaddy

    Re RIC
    So right about ID’s here. I get stopped in Blitizs…road blocks all the time and would not dream of leaving the house without my RG and CPF, even to take a walk..

  • Ric

    Thee future, she donÀ‚´ loook so goood. Thee green goes, they mui opset.
    Your points are well taken. But the guys at the top canÀ‚´t always control the voters. And itÀ‚´s been a long time since they have been this riled up. If Washington doesnÀ‚´t appear to be doing something, they are in for a rough ride, no matter what the interests say.

  • Michael William

    It is not a matter of governmental intelligence or competence. There is a reason why the U.S. does not enforce immigration controls – because numerous segments of the U.S. economy depend on the cheap labor, especially in the services sector. The 1986 IRCA lays out the legal constraints quite well. But the simple fact is that immigration laws are not enforced because doing so would hurt agribusiness, food/lodging industry, etc. etc. Enforcement is not funded and employers are not sancioned in any real way. When it becomes part of the economic national interest of the U.S. to enforce existing immigration law, you will see it is feasible to enforce/deport. If you study the history illegal migration to the U.S., we have always encouraged it when times were good (look into the Bracero program) and then deported en-masse when times were bad.

    The U.S. is a haven for undocumented immigrants…that is because we allow it to be so because it has a net benefit on the economy when unemployment is in low single-digit. If this subrime mortgage business keeps growing and truly hits mainstream America, you will see that the U.S. will move quickly to deport large numbers and lots of the loopholes will close.

    But you are right that it is much more difficult to get away with it in Brazil. I have two children there and am thus constitutionally eligible for permanent visa status…but it has been a total nightmare and without the precious ID number…not CPF, that is easy- it is impossible to do anything. Then again, look at unemployment numbers in Brazil.

  • Ric

    Brazil is smarter than the USA
    In Brazil each person must carry a form of ID. Not in the USA.

    In Brazil roadblocks can be set up with no Probable Cause. Not in the USA.

    In Brazil you canÀ‚´t do anything without a CIC/CPF number, try to enter a series of zeros or fake the number and the computer wonÀ‚´t accept it. But in the USA illegal aliens can operate with no SS number or a false SS number and itÀ‚´s not picked up.

    In Brazil one cannot take a long interstate trip via bus, plane or car without being checked out several times, often by poorly trained personnel with hungry kids at home. In the states you can drive from Santa Monica to Coney Island with no one asking any questions, as long as your vehicle doesnÀ‚´t have any burned out bulbs and you donÀ‚´t exceed the speed limit.

    In Brazil you canÀ‚´t get any job, open any bank account, matriculate in any school, or be treated in any free clinic without proof of a whole bunch of stuff. But in the states you can.

    I know Brazilians that went to the states illegally, acheived citizen status, paid FICA, got proof of disability from crooked American/Brazilian doctors, and are now back in Brazil getting disability checks every month from the American SS system. CanÀ‚´t do that in Brazil.

    The US government is stupid.

  • forrest Brown

    the cultur
    its back to the cultural differences between the People of the United States and others ,
    we are taught the law is to be obeyed and police are the ones that enforce those laws .

    you break those laws and you pay .

    in most countries the reckless disregard for the laws is well known ,
    especially the driving rules .

    people come here and try to live in the US don’t think they have to obey them , they still run lights , stop signs , double park and just stop and talk talk to some one on the streets ,
    drive the wrong way on a one way street because it will be faster and take less time and gas

    And if you are wanted by the police in there country they just move away for a while and all is forgotten , you change your name and go on with life ,

    in the US you are put in the computer and they will look for you ,or just Wait till you screw up and they have you ,and then it make sit easier as you are a flight risk and you stay in jail , if you pull the i don’t have ID you will go to jail till they find out whom you are and where you should be .

    yes it is the land of freedom and rights but some one has paid for those rights with there lives in some cases.

    as far as the illness all he would have to do is say I NEED A DOCTOR AT BOOKING AND IT WILL BE DONE.

    they migration of people from poorer countries to richer countries has started to ware on the general population of the host countries and the exchange of lower wages for the blue collar workers as that is the base for taxes in the host country ,

    then comes the free health care , housing , food , education , and all the free courts , all documentation having to be printed in the 15 other languages they are printed in .

    at no coast to the illegal immigrant’s , and of coarse the child birth of illegal immigrant’s is 5% higher than the host nations poor .

    if it was put in the hands of the people the illegal immigrant’s would not have any rights and would be ran out of just about every country they were in at that time .

    let a Brazilians over stay there visa in china not less than 2 years in jail could be given .

    yes before one blames the free world for the death of one of there peoples in a for gin land look to your own countries laws .and see how much better off they were in the host country if they would have fallow the rules of the land

  • Maks

    Ch.c, you really are a retarded twat.

  • bo

    It’s a shame what happened…
    but man, driving the wrong way on a one way street. It can cost you your life, not to mention the lives of others. Can’t understand after being in the U.S. for so long how he couldn’t have known he was going the wrong way on a one way. They’re always marked well, and naturally you can see the cars all parked in one direction. It’s amazing how when something happens to a brazilian in another country they’re always there illegally.

  • ch.c.

    easy….too easy….to accuse America !!!!!
    Lets face it, what would the brazilian authorities had done……?????
    Or the EU countries ??????

    Should a country allow a disabled person to get immigration rights…..just because he could not afford the healthcare in his own country ? Or because HIS country did not want to provide the healthcare…..for free ?????

    A little easy… my view !!!

    Should the developed world give immigration rights….to ALL those having Aids or any type of disease or physical handicap in their underdeveloped countries….for example ????

    And if arrested by the immigration dept, is is not fair to send them back home ?

    If Brazilian disagree, why dont they fill a few thousands Boeings…with Africans…having Aids…with a one way destination to SP or RJ…and give them the Brazilian passport ????? And another few thousands planes with those being physically handicapped and still another few thousands planes with those having mental disorders and still a few thousands planes with those having epilepsy.

    Sorry but this guy, illegally in the USA, without a driver license, still felt free to drive on the wrong way of the street puting life of OTHERS at risk, and there was a 5 years old arrest warrant against him. Curiously and most probably….on purpose……the article voluntary doesnt mention the reason of the arrest warrant !
    This person just deserved an expulsion….manu military !!!!!!

    Once more as Forest Brown said : Blame the other guy…. the brasilian way !!!!!

  • forrest Brown

    blame the other guy the brasilian way
    i do feel for the loss to the family.

    now how many of them are here on the slide ,
    will the mass of illegally brasilians go to the street like the Cubans do and Porto Ricans when
    they have a problum with the law in the US

    Lets all set back and see what he did die from what i read the family does not want hem to have a
    altospy to know as to why and how .

    riddle me this will he be buried in the US or will they deport the bodie.

  • conceicao

    My understanding of the relevant immigration law – from reading about the referenced case involving the disabled boy – is that Edimar outright would be denied any route to citizenship based upon his medical disability. The odds that Edimar or someone in his family would know this would be exceedingly high, especially given the recent publicity. Knowledge of the legal restraint would in my mind be the
    probable reason that Edimar did not request the medication. How the absence of the medication for a short period of time could possibly cause his death is another matter.

  • Ric

    Your comment takes supposition to a whole new level.

    Lets see….wrong way on a one way street….no drivers license…gives a phoney name….doesnÀ‚´t mention his need for medicine……in the country illegally…I guess you are right, what more evidence do we need to conclude that this was the fault of the police department.

    Was he going the wrong way because he had had a few too many? After all, he had lived there for years…..So Many Questions…

  • conceicao

    This may be fall out from the notorious case of the illegal Brasilian couple with the retarded child who, at the point of being given green cards, were ordered deported solely on the grounds that the son could
    potentially become a burden on the state if the parents died. While people intervened and got the deportation order reversed, I am sure that if Edimar knew of the case, and he likely did given he lived in the same area, he would not reveal his condition for fear of the consequences.

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