The Jury Talks Back

8/20/2019

Detained Immigrants Sue Over Poor Medical Care In Facilities

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 8:52 am

[guest post by Dana]

The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of 15 detainees from Sudan, Mexico, as well as non-profits:

Immigrants held in U.S. detention facilities filed a lawsuit Monday decrying what they called shoddy medical care and a failure by authorities to provide accommodations for disabilities.

In the suit filed by disability and civil rights advocates in U.S. District Court, immigrants said they’re placed in isolation as punishment and denied recommended medical treatment and surgery. Some said they’ve been denied wheelchairs and a deaf detainee who communicates in American Sign Language said he has not been provided an interpreter.

The problems harm disabled immigrants and threaten anyone in one of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s more than 50,000 detention beds who winds up getting sick or isolated from other detainees, said Monica Porter, staff attorney at Disability Rights Advocates, one of the organizations that filed the suit.

The agency clarified its position on medical care to detainees:

An agency official said comprehensive medical care is provided to all detainees including dental and 24-hour emergency care and studies have shown about 1 percent of detainees are held in segregated housing at a given time.

On top of concerns about infectious diseases, including outbreaks of mumps and chickenpox, which increase in the overcrowded facilities, here are some of the more specific medical concerns mentioned. These are indeed awful:

*Faour Abdullah Fraihat, has been detained in Adelanto for more than two years and lost vision in his left eye. While an off-site doctor recommended surgery in April, immigration authorities didn’t provide it and he was told last month his vision couldn’t be restored, according to the lawsuit. Fraihat, 57, who has back and knee pain, said he was given a wheelchair but it was taken away after a month. For more than a year, he relied on officers to bring him food, the suit said. He said he fears returning to Jordan because he was threatened after converting to Christianity.

*Another detainee at the facility about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles said he was placed in segregation for a week after filing a grievance against an officer, the suit said.

*Luis Manuel Delgadillo, a 29-year-old who has lived most of his life in the United States, was on medication for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder but his treatment shifted after he was detained in May. Since then, his mental health has suffered, prompting him to miss two court dates, according to the lawsuit.

Additionally:

*[O]ne plaintiff with a brain parasite has received no treatment for over a year.

*Another has not received surgery for a torn rotator cuff during three years in detention.

*[O]ne lost vision in his left eye due to lack of timely care in custody.

The suit argues that: ICE deliberately and systematically denies care to approximately 55,000 illegal immigrants currently in custody at county jails, and privately and publicly run detention centers.

There is the belief that privately contracted facilities and county jails are unable to provide the same level of care as ICE facilities, and are unable to be closely monitored.

Meanwhile, the government is facing push back over the possibility of building a new ICE detention facility for unaccompanied minors in Southern California:

The Inland Empire is being considered for a federal facility that could hold up to 430 unaccompanied minors who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.

The proposal has prompted objections from House Democrats who represent the region and concern from an advocate for the local immigrant community.

On Aug. 5, the General Services Administration, which oversees the leasing and construction of federal buildings, posted a notice indicating a desire to lease space for 15 to 17 years in the Inland region.
[…]

In an emailed statement, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said its Office of Refugee Resettlement is exploring “vacant properties in Virginia, Central Florida, and Los Angeles to lease for potential future use as state-licensed permanent shelter locations for unaccompanied alien children.”

“The search for an addition of permanent licensed facilities is being pursued to reduce the potential need for unlicensed temporary flux shelters in the future.”

Here are the particulars:

Documents call for a 74,000- to 91,000-square-foot facility in the Inland Empire to house “Unaccompanied Alien Children,” defined by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 as anyone under 18 who has no lawful immigration status in the United States and lacks a parent or legal guardian in this country to provide care and physical custody…children to be housed in 215 bedrooms – two children per bedroom – and space for 72 bathrooms with showers, classrooms, medical exams, a kitchen/dining area and 43,560 square feet – five youth soccer fields – of playgrounds…As many as 430 staff members working eight-hour shifts would provide around-the-clock care for the children.

–Dana

1 Comment »

  1. Well then I think it’s time to admit they’re right and tell them we’re just going to shut the whole thing down and send them back to their home country to receive the care they want. If they don’t want to wait in these conditions (and who can blame them, ever been to the DMV lately?) then we’ll just help them go back home, they can then try again in a few decades after we spend time and money researching a better alternative, run various health and environmental studies, and work on a bipartisan bill that will rebuild facilities to their rigorous specifications.

    Comment by Sean — 8/20/2019 @ 9:42 am

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