According to an article on nytimes.com: “Silence has long shrouded the men and women who die in the nations immigration jails. For years, they went uncounted and unnamed in the public record. Even in 2008, when The New York Times obtained and published a federal government list of such deaths, few facts were available about who these people were and how they died.” NY Times journalists and the ACLU also obtained documents relating to immigrant detainees deaths that it has published.
Another recent article on nytimes.com states: “Agents in riot gear from Immigration and Customs Enforcement tried to break up a hunger strike by detainees at the Varick Federal Detention Center in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday, three detainees at the center said Wednesday in telephone interviews.”
If these allegations are in fact true, the Obama administration needs to do take imminent action to protect immigrant detainees from abuse that sometimes results in their death while in US custody. The actions of ICE and those in charge of detention facilities must be transparent, and those found to be negligent, abusive or reckless in their treatment of immigrants as well as those who covered up alleged abuses must be brought to justice. Even the most egregious immigration violation does not warrant a death sentence. It surprises me that there are not more high-profile civil lawsuits brought by personal injury and wrongful death lawyers for alleged abuses such as those outlined in the article and documents. Perhaps the efforts of the New York Times and the ACLU to shed light on these practices will lead to such suits being filed on behalf of the victims.