Officials Hid Deaths in Immigrant Jails

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials repeatedly covered up the deaths of immigrants under the agency’s care, documents released to The New York Times and the ACLU show. Internal memos show that officials worked hard to prevent “media exposure” over questionable treatment of some of the 107 people who died in detention facilities. One man lay in an isolation cell for more than 13 hours before an ambulance was called. A reporter inquired about an injured man, and an agency spokesman claimed he couldn’t find out any information about the case while contacting agency managers to strategize on limiting press scrutiny. Another man committed suicide after unbearable pain went untreated, the Times reports. Employees tried to cover up the maltreatment by claiming he was given a Motrin—after he died. The agency also under-reported deaths, the documents show. “These are quite horrible medical stories,” an official wrote after being contacted by a reporter in 2007, “and I think we’ll need to have a pretty strong response to keep this from becoming a very damaging national story that takes on long legs.”