ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, officials have been operating in an immoral manner keeping secret the deaths of 107 detainees since 2003.
During the Cold War we would hear stories of how the KGB and other Eastern Communist countries would scoop people up, incarcerate them, and they would die in custody with no word to their families or friends of what happened to them. Who would think this could happen in the United States Of American, the land of the brave and the home of the free?
Who is reponsible for these deaths? Is it a few bad apples or is it bad management and lack of accountability?
Unitarian Universalists believe in justice, equity, and ocmpassion in human relations something that doesn't seem to be believed in by ICE staff or the United States government which captures human beings and then while in custody they die.
A very moving personal account of one such death is Edwidge Danticat's autobiography, "Brother I'm Dying" which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. Interestingly both the author and her uncle who died in ICE custody are Haitian.
From The New York Times on 01/10/10:
Silence has long shrouded the men and women who die in the nation’s 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.
But behind the scenes, it is now clear, the deaths had already generated thousands of pages of government documents, including scathing investigative reports that were kept under wraps, and a trail of confidential memos and BlackBerry messages that show officials working to stymie outside inquiry.
The documents, obtained over recent months by The Times and the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act, concern most of the 107 deaths in detention counted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement since October 2003, after the agency was created within the Department of Homeland Security.
From Democracy Now on 01/13/2010