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FILE - Passengers wait in line at Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta.VOA

New York, May 19, 2017: An Indian man who came to the US from Latin America without proper documents has died while in federal custody in Atlanta, in Georgia state, according to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

Atulkumar Babubhai Patel, 58, died on Tuesday at an Atlanta hospital, the ICE said in a statement. “The preliminary cause of death has been ruled to be complications from congestive heart failure,” it added.


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The Indian citizen arrived in Atlanta on May 10 from Quito, Ecuador, without the necessary immigration documents and on May 11 US Customs and Border Protection officials transferred him to ICE custody, the agency said.

When Patel was admitted to the Atlanta Detention Center, an initial medical screening showed he had high blood pressure and diabetes, the ICE said.

On May 13, a nurse checking his 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”, it added.

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The Indian Consulate General in Atlanta was informed about Patel’s death and they have informed his family, the ICE said.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper reported that Patel was the second person to die in ICE custody in Georgia within two days.

A Panamanian citizen was found dead at another ICE centre with a sheet around his neck, the newspaper said.

Shana Tabak, an immigration law professor who heads a Georgia lawyers’ network helping ICE detainees, called the two deaths “shocking and tragic”, the newspaper reported.

She told the newspaper that the government was constitutionally obligated to provide detainees with adequate medical care “and two deaths in Georgia in one week certainly raises the question to me of whether the ICE and the US government are meeting those legal obligations”. (IANS)


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