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 yesterday revealed 11 deaths that have occurred at detention facilities since 2004 that the government had previously failed to publicly disclose.
“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.”
More than one in 10 deaths in immigration detention in the last six years have been overlooked and were omitted from an official list of detainee fatalities issued to Congress in March, the Obama administration said Monday.
The new cases involved eight men from Cuba, one from Mexico and one from Ecuador, bringing to 104 the number of people who have died while in ICE custody since October 2003, the agency said.