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Enforcement and Removal
05/17/2017

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ICE detainee passes away at Atlanta hospital

ATLANTA – An Indian national who was briefly in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Atlanta City Detention Center for two days died Tuesday afternoon at an Atlanta hospital. Atulkumar Babubhai Patel, 58, was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital at 1:20 p.m. The preliminary cause of death has been ruled to be complications from congestive heart failure.

Mr. Patel arrived at the Atlanta airport May 10 aboard a flight from Quito, Ecuador. U.S. Customs and Border Protection subsequently denied him entry to the country as Mr. Patel did not possess the necessary immigration documents.

Mr. Patel was transferred into ICE custody Thursday at the Atlanta City Detention Center where he received an initial medical screening and was identified to have high blood pressure and diabetes. On Saturday, two days after he entered ICE custody, a nurse checking Mr. Patel’s blood sugar noticed he had shortness of breath and he was promptly transported to Grady Memorial Hospital for additional evaluation and treatment where he later died.

Consistent with the agency’s protocols, the appropriate state health and local law enforcement agencies have been notified about the death, as have the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility. Additionally, ICE has advised Indian consular representatives who have notified Mr. Patel’s next of kin.

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. 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. This agency’s comprehensive review will be conducted by ICE senior leadership to include Enforcement and Removal Operations, the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor.

Mr. Patel is the eighth individual to pass away in ICE custody in fiscal year 2017.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/18/2017