The New York Times has an important piece on its front page today, about immigrants who die while awaiting deportation, and how hard it is for outside groups to learn what happened--even the basic fact of the detainee's death. In one case, a Pakistani man named Ahmad Tanveer died in September of 2005, apparently because his chest pains went ignored. But his death was only discovered in the last few weeks. From "Immigrant Detainee Dies, and a Life is Buried, Too":
Even now, most questions about Mr. Tanveer are unanswered, including just who he was and why he had been detained. The rescue of his death from oblivion took a rare mix of chance, vigilance by a few citizen activists, litigation by the civil liberties union and several months of inquiry by The Times. Even as the newspaper confirmed Mr. Tanveer’s death with jail officials, and tracked his body’s path from a Freehold morgue to the cargo hold of an airplane at Kennedy Airport, immigration authorities maintained that they could find no documents showing such a person was ever detained, or died in their custody.
The article quotes an official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who claims that all detainee deaths have been made public. But that's promptly contradicted by the reporter, who lists other deaths that ICE hasn't.
For more on this issue, visit Breakthrough's website.