An illegal immigrant who tried to enter the U.S. by plane earlier this month has died after being held in custody by immigration agents, Homeland Security said Wednesday.
Atulkumar Babubhai Patel, 58, was an Indian citizen, and arrived on a May 10 flight from Equador to Atlanta.
Customs and Border Protection determined he didn’t have permission to enter, and sent him to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be sent home.
In his initial health screening — standard for new detainees — he was found to have high blood pressure and diabetes. On Saturday a nurse checking on him found him short of breath and he was sent to the hospital, where he later died.
He’s the eighth person to die in ICE custody in fiscal year 2017, which began Oct. 1.
“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 agency said.
“Fatalities in ICE custody, statistically, are exceedingly rare and occur at a fraction of the rate of the U.S. detained population as a whole,” the agency said.
A report by immigrant-rights advocates earlier this month that reviewed a series of deaths in ICE custody found one third of deaths recorded from 2012 to 2015 could be blamed on substandard care offered by the immigration service.
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