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Immigration detention: Death toll rising

In New Jersey and across the country, concern has been raised about the safety and well-being of those being held in ICE custody. Two separate immigration detention facilities in another state reported resident fatalities within the same week. These incidents are raising awareness to an apparent substandard care problem that seems to be occurring in numerous detainment centers in the United States.

Among problem issues that immigrant advocates have cited are lack of medical treatment when needed, as well as insufficient nutrition and filthy living conditions. The two recent deaths that occurred on the East Coast involved a 69-year-old man from Cuba who is said to have died of cardiac arrest and a 39-year-old man who reportedly committed suicide. The latter had been incarcerated in the criminal justice system regarding a number of charges, but was later released from criminal custody.

After his release, the man was taken into custody by ICE officers. He was then scheduled for deportation proceedings. While awaiting a hearing, he was found dead in his detention center. It is especially troubling when incidents of illness, injury or death appear to be connected to human rights violations among immigrants residing under the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

If anyone in New Jersey is concerned about immigration detention issues, he or she can discuss the problem with an experienced immigration law attorney. Immigration officials are required to provide quality care regarding food, clothing and shelter, as well as appropriate mental and physical health care to all detainees. If a personal rights violation occurs, an experienced attorney can advocate on a client's behalf to seek justice.

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