Maya Nand was a legal immigrant who had been living in the U.S. for seven years, when a routine check triggered by his application for citizenship turned up an old misdemeanor. Suddenly Nand was taken from his home in California and put in an Arizona detention center in Eloy, Arizona, twelve hours away. Nand, a diabetic, started having pains in his heart, and would stand up all night because he couldn’t breathe. His guards told him to stop faking, says Nand’s family. In his last collect call home, Nand told his family, “If you don’t get me out of here today, I’m going to die.” The next day he was found unconscious and later died. He was one of five detainees to die at Eloy within a 26-month period.
At any given time, some 31,000 people in the U.S. are being held in custody waiting for the government to decide whether to deport them. Information about these detainees is difficult to find–where they are being held—even how many of them die in custody.
Through the Freedom Of Information Act, the New York Times so far has obtained the names of 66 individuals who have died in custody. They are maintaining an index of articles on the subject as they try to obtain more information.
California’s Rep. Lofgren has introduced legislation–H.R. 5950 to provide oversight for immigration detainees.