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Minutes after deportation, man jumps from Tijuana bridge

February 24, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Minutes after deportation, man jumps from Tijuana bridge

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The case of a 45-year-old Mexican, whom officials said killed himself less than an hour after his deportation from the U.S. to Tijuana, is attracting attention on both sides of the border at a time when emotions over immigration policies in the U.S. are running at a fever pitch.

Guadalupe Olivas Valencia plunged off of a bridge near the U.S.-Mexico border and succumbed to his injuries shortly after.

Tijuana police found Olivas — a native from Los Mochis, Sinaloa — just after 9 a.m. Tuesday after they responded to a call that a man was getting ready to jump off a bridge into the dry channel. According to reports, the officers arrived just as he was falling.

Olivas was critically injured in the concrete channel. Next to him was a bag with his belongings and an immigration form indicating that he had been “repatriated” to Mexico less than an hour earlier, The Washington Post reported.

One hour after he was discovered, Olivas died at Tijuana General Hospital.

The man had been deported from the U.S. at least six times prior, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported. He also had served time in custody for multiple felony convictions, including re-entry after a previous deportation.

Mexican national Guadalupe Olivas Valencia was reportedly found dead beneath a bridge metres from the US border just minutes he was deported

One day before he died, Olivas went to the San Ysidro Port of Entry and asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection to come into the country. “He had no legal documents to enter the U.S. and was inadmissible,” according to a statement from Homeland Security. “He was repatriated to Mexico on February 21, 2017, and was turned over to Mexican officials.”

The Baja California Attorney General’s Office said on Wednesday that they are investigating Olivas’ death as a suicide, but have not made a final decision.

At the Baja California Medical Examiner’s Office, Olivas’ mother, Cristina Valencia, told the media that her son had asked U.S. authorities for asylum but was rejected. She said she last spoke with him on Sunday.

“I am not sure of the reasons (for his death), but he was not doing well. I cannot say more,” Valencia added.

Olivas, a widowed father of three, committed suicide on the third anniversary of his wife’s death, Valencia also noted.

Federal court documents in Arizona indicated this wasn’t the first time Olivas had come to the attention of U.S. border agents. He was twice convicted of “illegal re-entry” after deportation — a felony — in 2005 and in 2015, when a U.S. Border Patrol agent caught him near the Mexican border in Casa Grande, Arizona. He was hit a 16-month prison sentence in the latter case and was deported to Mexico on October 4th of last year.

According to a sentencing document stemming from February 9, 2016, Olivas told officials that he decided to return to the U.S. to find work to provide for his family. However, while crossing the desert, he was left by his guide and companions because he couldn’t keep up. He managed to make it to the freeway, where he hailed down a police officer, who then contacted Border Patrol.

Olivas also had served time in prison for other offenses.

One charge involved a 2001 conviction for possession of marijuana after he was caught at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry with 128 pounds of pot hidden in his gas tank. In 2005, he was pulled over in Arizona for “driving a stolen vehicle in tandem with another vehicle toward Mexico,” a court document indicated. A search revealed “$8,750 beneath the passenger seat,” the report stated.

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