WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Some U.S. immigration officials allegedly hid evidence of abuse against detainees who died in their care, the American Civil Liberties Union said.
A culture of secrecy persists within Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and within a network of federal centers and jails where non-citizens are held while the U.S. government tries to deport them, the ACLU and The New York Times reported Sunday after a joint investigation.
The Obama administration's plan to overhaul immigration detention will be difficult because the agency oversees itself, said Chris Crane, a vice president in the American Federation of Government Employees.
"Because ICE investigates itself there is no transparency and there is no reform or improvement," Crane told a congressional subcommittee in December.
In all, 107 men and women have died in ICE detention since the agency's creation in 2003, including a detainee who committed suicide after pain medication for a broken leg was withheld, the Times reported.
Other death cases involved a detainee who died of untreated penile cancer and a detainee who suffered a skull fracture in a detention center but allegedly was left untreated in an isolation cell for 13 hours, the Times reported.
Obama administration appointees now running the agency were aware of the cases and committed to more transparency and greater oversight, ICE spokesman Brian Hale told the Times.