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Letter to Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Julie Meyers


Location: Washington, DC

Kerry demands explanation concerning death of immigrant while in federal custody

Senator John Kerry yesterday wrote a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) demanding an investigation into the death of a Brazilian immigrant from Milford. Edmar Alves Araujo, 34, died Tuesday after being picked up after a routine traffic stop. Arajuo's sister says he wasn't given anti-seizure medicine to treat his epilepsy, despite her attempts to deliver the medication.

"There are serious allegations and unanswered questions surrounding Mr. Araujo's death while in the custody of ICE. No matter what you think of our immigration policy, we should all agree that everyone deserves to be treated humanely, and we should all agree that for the peace of mind of a family that has lost a loved one and public confidence in ICE itself that answers should be provided quickly and candidly," said Senator Kerry.

The text of the letter is as follows:

Assistant Secretary Julie Meyers
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
425 I Street, N.W. - Room 7100
Washington, D.C. 20536

Dear Assistant Secretary Meyers,

I write today with regard to one of my constituents who recently died while being detained by your agency. Edmar Alves Araujo, from Milford, Massachusetts, was reported dead on Tuesday, August 7th shortly after he was taken into federal custody. Mr. Araujo was detained by Rhode Island Police after being stopped for a traffic violation and then subsequently transferred to federal authorities when his immigration status was discovered.

When Mr. Araujo arrived at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Detention and Removal in Providence, Rhode Island it is reported that he began to show signs of medical distress and was taken to Rhode Island Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Mr. Araujo had epilepsy and needed a daily medication to control his seizures. His death is particularly distressing because there are reports that the ICE officers knew of Mr. Araujo's condition and did not allow his medication to be dispended. Mr. Araujo's sister says she brought the medication to the Providence facility but was not allowed to leave the medication for Mr. Araujo or see him.

I respectfully request that a full investigation be done into Mr. Araujo's death. It is gravely important that those being held in ICE detention be allowed necessary access to medical services and medications. Any reports of ICE officers ignoring a serious medical condition should not be taken lightly. I would also like to know what procedures ICE has in place to ensure detainees that may not speak English are able to communicate any medical needs or humanitarian claims. I thank you for your assistance on this matter and look forward to your reply.


John F. Kerry

United States Senate

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