Another troubling article came out today regarding immigrant detention. Yesterday, immigration officials said that they discovered the records of 10 previously unreported deaths in ICE custody. More specifically, these unreported deaths involved eight men from Cuba, one from Mexico, and one from Ecuador.
For me, the fact that these deaths were not apparent in a previous Freedom of Information Act request is disturbing:
“Gillian Brigham, an ICE spokeswoman, said the deaths did not turn up earlier this year when the agency, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, tried to conduct a comprehensive search of those who died while in custody. Ms. Brigham said the agency was aware the 10 detainees had died in custody, but their names hadn’t come up in the original search.”
This makes me wonder how many other names have not come up in various searches. It is easy to brush the ugly truth under the rug, especially with people that our society does not want to readily absorb in the first place. However, in the interest of humanity, the US must do a better job and get serious about detention reform. But what has been proposed by the Obama administration looks like more of the same policies we have seen from the Bush administration. Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano has indicated that the number of detainees would stay the same or grow.
I do want to note that Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) has introduced a bill this year to ensure the humane treatment of people being held in immigrant detention. This would be a great bill for Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez to cosponsor, as she is the Vice Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, and I notice that she is not on the co-sponsor list. Congressman Polis, who we noted has already spoken out on immigrant detention last month, is co-sponsoring this bill.
Photo Credit: The dining room of an immigrant detention center (Courtesy of ICE)