A 58-year-old Indian citizen, Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel, died while in custody of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Atlanta airport, becoming the eighth person to die in ICE custody for 2017.
Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel died of congestive heart failure at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta on 16 May, according to an ICE statement.
Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel had arrived in the US on a flight from Quito, Ecuador and was detained on May 10th for allegedly missing proper immigration documents. The reason for Mr Patel’s travel has not yet been confirmed.
ICE is the domestic enforcement agency, but US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is a separate federal agency and the authorities at ports of entry into the US.
CBP was the agency at the Atlanta airport that actually detained Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel. Both agencies operate under the Department of Homeland Security.
There are over 60 reasons a foreign national trying to enter the US could be deemed “inadmissible” by US authorities, including, but not limited to, “health-related, prior criminal convictions, security reasons, public charge, labour certification, illegal entrants and immigration violations, documentation requirements, and miscellaneous grounds,” per immigration law.
There are times a traveller could spend time in a temporary holding facility with CBP until they are able to catch a flight back to their home country. However, a foreign national may not be able or willing to travel back to their home country due to a wide variety of reasons. In some cases, that is when they are transferred to ICE.
Due to privacy constraints, the reason for Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel’s detention and transfer cannot be divulged by CBP or ICE.
According to a report from The Independent, ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox confirmed that Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel was only transferred into ICE Custody on May 11th, the day after his arrival at the Atlanta airport.
Once transferred to ICE, Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel was then held in the Atlanta City Detention Center and “received an initial medical screening and was identified to have high blood pressure and diabetes.”
ICE requires all detainees to go through a medical screening within 12 hours of transfer into their custody, Mr Cox told The Independent.
After routine monitoring for his health issues, Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel was transferred to hospital two days later on May 13th with shortness of breath. He remained in care there until his death on May 16th.
Though deaths in ICE custody are rare, the agency and CBP have been under extra scrutiny of late due to Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries entering the US.
The Indian consulate has informed Mr Patel’s next of kin.
Source : The Independant