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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

ACLU DISCOVERS 11 UNREPORTED DEATHS AT ICE DETENTION FACILITIES

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From the American Civil Liberties Union:

Prompted by an
American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit seeking previously unreleased documents
related to the deaths of immigration detainees in U.S. custody, Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) officials today revealed 11 deaths that have occurred
at detention facilities since 2004 that the government had previously failed to
publicly disclose.




In April, in response to the ACLU lawsuit which was filed under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA), DHS officials released what they called a comprehensive
list of all deaths in detention that included a total of 90 individuals. With
today's announcement, the government has now admitted to a total of 104
in-custody deaths since fiscal year 2003.




"Today's announcement confirms our very worst fears," said David
Shapiro, staff attorney with the ACLU National Prison Project. "For too
long, the system of detaining immigration detainees has been devoid of
transparency and accountability. This forces us to question even further
whether there are still more deaths that somehow have gone unaccounted
for."




The ACLU sued DHS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the DHS Office
of the Inspector General (OIG) in June 2008 for failing to turn over thousands
of public documents in their possession relating to  the deaths of
immigration detainees held in U.S. custody. The ACLU filed the lawsuit in U.S.
District Court for the District of Columbia after repeated failures by DHS
officials to release those documents in response to requests by the ACLU for
critical information about the deaths of dozens of people in immigration
detention.




In a FOIA request submitted by the ACLU to DHS in 2007, the ACLU sought
information about whether ICE - or any independent monitoring agency -
adequately tracks deaths of immigration detainees, who are often housed in
county jails around the country alongside criminal detainees, or in one of
numerous immigration detention facilities managed by private prison companies.




OIG reports to Congress prior to the ACLU's FOIA request contained only vague
and sporadic references to investigations into these deaths. Additionally, the
reports provided little useful information that would assure the public that
meaningful investigations are conducted into each death and that steps are being
taken to guarantee that detainees receive necessary medical services before it
is too late.




Deficient medical care is believed to be a leading cause of death in
immigration detention, and is the number one complaint the ACLU has received
from ICE detainees. The ACLU filed a lawsuit in 2007 against the San Diego
Correctional Facility (SDCF), an ICE facility run by Corrections Corporations
of America, Inc. (CCA), the country's largest for-profit correctional services
provider. In its lawsuit, the ACLU challenges flawed medical care policies and
the denial of needed treatment by ICE and the Division of Immigration Health
Services which has led to suffering and even death of detainees at SDCF.




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Comments

  1. gg's Avatar
    Very troubling ..
  2. Another voice's Avatar
    I am sure as the case moves along they will discover worst things!!!
  3. Another voice's Avatar
    They should go after CCA on the civil side also and compensate these families for their loss!!!!!
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