BY VEENA RAO
Atlanta, GA, May 17, 2017: An Indian national who was in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Atlanta City Detention Center for two days died Tuesday afternoon at Grady hospital. Atulkumar Babubhai Patel, 58, was pronounced dead at 1:20 p.m. The preliminary cause of death has been ruled to be complications from congestive heart failure, according to an ICE press release.
Patel arrived at the Atlanta airport May 10 aboard a flight from Quito, Equador. U.S. Customs and Border Protection subsequently denied him entry to the country as Patel did not possess the necessary immigration documents. He 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 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.
Funeral arrangements are being taken care of by Shree Shakti Mandir and local community members, with help from the Consulate General of India in Atlanta.
“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, said the press release.
Patel is the eighth individual to pass away in ICE custody in fiscal year 2017.