An Indian national who was being detained by federal immigration authorities in Atlanta died Tuesday at Grady Memorial Hospital. He is the second U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee to die in Georgia in the space of two days.
Atulkumar Babubhai Patel, 58, was pronounced dead at 1:20 p.m. Tuesday, according to ICE. His preliminary cause of death, the federal agency said, has been ruled to be complications from congestive heart failure.
Federal authorities are also investigating the death of a Panamanian national who was being held in an immigration detention center in Stewart County, located more than 100 miles southwest of Atlanta. Jean Jimenez-Joseph, 27, died after he was found unresponsive — with a sheet around his neck — in his solitary confinement cell at the Stewart Detention Center at 12:45 a.m. Monday, ICE said.
Patel arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on May 10 aboard a flight from Quito, Ecuador. He did not have the required immigration documents, according to ICE, so he was placed in the federal agency’s custody at the Atlanta City Detention Center. He received a medical screening there and was found to have high blood pressure, according to ICE. On Saturday, a nurse checking his blood sugar noticed he was short of breath, so he was transported to Grady, where he later died.
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ICE has contacted Indian consular representatives, who have notified Patel’s next of kin. Patel is the eighth detainee to die in ICE custody in the fiscal year ending this September.
“ICE is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of this incident, as it does in all such cases,” the federal agency said in a news release issued Wednesday afternoon. “This agency’s comprehensive review will be conducted by ICE senior leadership to include Enforcement and Removal Operations, the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor.”
Detainees at an Immigration Customs and Enforcement detention center began a hunger strike in response to conditions.