Immigrants Detained In The US Died After “inadequate” Care

They perform hysterectomies on immigrants detained in the US 3:49

(WAB NEWS) –– Immigrants in US custody faced widespread health care failures, including problems that resulted in death. This was established by a new Congressional investigation published this Thursday.

The inquiry mentioned Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) centers operated by for-profit contractors. Detainees there “often do not receive urgent treatment or face delays,” he noted. Additionally, the review found that many of the for-profit facilities lack sufficient medical staff. And they also don’t provide the necessary care for chronic medical conditions, he added.

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In some cases there were even delays in emergency care, the investigation indicated. He also mentioned a shortage of staff and poor sanitation. The inquiry was led by Carolyn Maloney, chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, along with Jamie Raskin, chair of the subcommittee.

An ongoing problem at ICE centers

Last summer, the House Oversight Committee announced that it was investigating the “increasing” use of for-profit contractors by the Trump administration to detain immigrants. This, after reports of health and safety violations.

For its investigation, the commission requested documents from ICE and two for-profit contractors, CoreCivic and GEO Group. These companies operate facilities with more than 80% of all people detained by ICE. Commission staff also inspected 22 Department of Homeland Security facilities in six states. Among them, ICE detention centers and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities

The problems of inadequate care in ICE centers have been a continuing problem. Last year, the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) found expired food and bathrooms in disrepair during unannounced visits to four immigration detention centers in 2018.

Undocumented immigrants could be in danger in detention centers 4:36 What immigrants said in US custody

The findings of the new investigation come a week after the complaint about high rates of hysterectomies to immigrants. An informant, who previously worked at an ICE facility in Georgia, detailed the procedures and alleged medical malpractice. The complaint was made in a complaint filed with the DHS inspector general.

Ken Cuccinelli, a senior DHS official who serves as an undersecretary, called the accusations “shocking” on Thursday. He also maintained that he sent a team outside of ICE to investigate.

The congressional investigation included information on the detainees. According to the report, they said that if the facility staff did not consider medical problems to be emergencies, they did not take them seriously. “People with migraines, hernias and high blood pressure reported that their conditions were not treated,” the report says.

For example, a detainee in Texas reportedly was in medical quarantine for 9 days with facial swelling before being diagnosed with mumps. He permanently lost hearing in one ear.

ICE Says Report “Tarnishes” Its Reputation

ICE Public Affairs Director Stacey Daniels sent a statement to CNN. In the statement she said that the agency is “fully committed to the health and safety of those in our care.” And she added that ICE “will review the commission’s report.”

Although later he questioned the inquiry. “It is clear that this unilateral review of our facilities was conducted to tarnish the reputation of our agency, rather than actually review the care that detainees receive while in our custody,” he said. He then continued: “Civil detention improvements are based on concrete recommendations from the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) and an aggressive program of inspections.” Which, he said, “includes formal facility inspections, independent third-party compliance reviews, daily on-site compliance reviews and site-specific visits.”

The commission detailed the death of several detainees in custody. In 2018, Huy Chi Tran, 47, died of sudden cardiac arrest after eight days in detention. He was placed in solitary confinement at CoreCivic’s Eloy Detention Center in Arizona. According to the report, a guard did not supervise him and later falsified the records.

The response of companies that operate detention centers

“CoreCivic is committed to the safety and health of each individual in our care,” said the company’s director of Public Affairs, Amanda Gilchrist, in a statement. “We do not provide medical care in most of our immigration facilities,” he explained. And she said that in most cases, “the ICE Health Services Corps provides comprehensive medical, mental health and dental care.”

“Where we do provide care, our clinics are staffed with licensed and credentialed physicians, nurses, and mental health professionals who contractually meet the highest standards of care,” he added in part.

GEO Group spokesman Christopher V. Ferreira also issued a statement. “We strongly reject these baseless allegations, which are part of another politically driven report.” He also said the research “ignores more than three decades of providing high-quality services to those in our care.”

“For more than 30 years, we have provided high-quality services to the federal government, both under the Democratic and Republican administrations. And we have always adhered to the National Performance-Based Detention Standards, which were first established during the administration of President Barack Obama. In addition, the center is highly rated by independent accrediting bodies, including the American Correctional Association and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, ”he added.

The pandemic, another challenge

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has “compounded” problems at the facilities, according to the report. The investigation found that detainees face poor sanitation practices and poor management of infectious diseases.

At least four detainees have died after contracting the coronavirus in ICE custody. And more than 6,000 detainees and ICE personnel have contracted the virus as of September 23.

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