The Broken Medical System for US Immigration Detainees

As per a recent report published by the Human Rights Watch and Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), “Systemic Indifference: Dangerous & Substandard Medical Care in Immigration Detention,” there are loopholes, and system failures in the current medical program that helps cater medical emergencies for immigrants detained for various reasons across the United States.

The senior US researcher at Human Rights Watch, Grace Meng said, “The data reveals that people in immigration detention died needlessly under the Obama administration, even with its attempts at reform. The Trump administration has already announced its intent to roll back key reforms while detaining even more, immigrants, which would likely mean more people will die needless and preventable deaths. I’m even more concerned now that we have an administration that wants to cram more people into these broken detention centers.

From 2012 to 2015, 40 such deaths are already under investigation by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The stated reasons for these deaths as revealed by many detention advocates, immigration attorneys and medical officials include substandard and dangerous medical care, failure to follow up on critical and emergency symptoms, unqualified medical personnel practicing beyond the scope of their licenses and expertise, the misuse of solitary confinement mental health patients, and severely inadequate mental health care in emergencies. The risk of more deaths can increase if detention reforms are not addressed since over 400,000 individuals go through these detention centers on an annual basis.



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