Immigrant Detainee Deaths Probed
Posted Jun 26, 2007 9:50 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Sixty-two immigrants have died in detention since 2004, according to a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement accounting.
The United Nations had counted only 20 deaths in the same time period, based on a list compiled by immigrant-rights lawyers, the New York Times reports.
The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has announced it is investigating two of the deaths. One case involves a Korean woman who died of pancreatic cancer after pleading to see a doctor over the course of several weeks.
More than 27,500 immigrants are detained on any given day in “a patchwork of county jails, privately run prisons and federal facilities” while they await a decision on deportation, the Times says. No government body is responsible for keeping track of the deaths.
The system is facing increased scrutiny following reports of abuses. An amendment to the proposed immigration bill would give the Department of Homeland Security oversight authority over detention.
The ABA is pushing the department to adopt regulations incorporating treatment standards for the detainees.