The top U.S. immigration enforcement official told a congressional subcommittee yesterday that the Bush administration will disclose more information about foreigners who die in the sprawling network of federal detention centers around the country, reports the Washington Post. Julie Myers, assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, said her agency will report such deaths to a branch of the Justice Department that collects similar information about inmates in state prisons and local jails.
The Justice Department publishes statistics on the fatalities, not the identities of the victims, but Myers said the change represents “more transparency” about detainee deaths. Since last year, congressional Democrats have pleaded with ICE to reveal the names and circumstances of foreigners who have died in U.S. custody. Myers announced the new reporting requirement during a congressional hearing on medical care for immigration detainees, the first since The Washington Post published a series of articles last month that documented a broken system of care for the growing number of foreigners who are imprisoned while the government tries to deport them.