Indian detained at Atlanta airport
The badge of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Fugitive Operations team.

A 58-year-old Indian who was detained by American customs officials last week for not possessing necessary immigration documents while entering the country died in custody at an Atlanta hospital.

Atul Kumar Babubhai Patel was taken in custody by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Atlanta City Detention Center for two days.

He died on Tuesday afternoon at the hospital with the officials stating the preliminary cause of his demise as complications from congestive heart failure.

Patel arrived at Atlanta airport on May 10 on a flight from Ecuador. US Customs and Border Protection subsequently denied him entry into the country as he did not possess the necessary immigration documents, the ICE said in a statement.

Patel was transferred into ICE custody last week at Atlanta City Detention Center where he received an initial medical screening and was found to have high blood pressure and diabetes.

On Saturday, two days after being in custody, a nurse checking Patel’s blood sugar noticed he had a breathing problem, he was taken to hospital where he later passed away.

ICE said it is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is “undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of the incident, as it does in all such cases”.

The agency the informed the Indian consular representatives who notified Patel’s kin about his demise. The agency added that fatalities in its custody are “exceedingly rare” and occur at a fraction of the rate of the US detained population as a whole.

Patel is the eighth such individual to have died in custody of the agency since April 2017.

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