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ACLU: Details of immigrant deaths hidden

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.

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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.

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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.

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