It's no secret that medical care at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities has never been outstanding. Still, no scandal seems big enough to prompt the federal government to bring an end to ICE's careless actions.
Worried about the reports of deaths taking place in immigration facilities, nonprofits Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement and Human Rights Watch decided to ask medical experts to review 18 cases that took place between May 2012 and June 2015. According to the experts' assessment, neglect was a contributing factor in the deaths of at least seven detainees.
The report goes on to add that “numerous examples of systemic substandard and dangerous medical practices in other cases” were also observed, “such as overreliance on unqualified medical staff, delays in emergency responses, and requests for care unreasonably delayed.”
In one of the cases reviewed by experts, detainee Manuel Cota-Domingo died of untreated diabetes and pneumonia. Since ICE has a policy in place that dictates what certain members of the staff may and may not do, only approved individuals are allowed to call 911. As a result, Cota-Domingo's treatment was delayed by eight hours. This delay ultimately led to his death.
A second case involving Tiombe Carlos, a man who had been detained for two-and-a-half years, was also analyzed by medical experts.
According to their assessment, the mental health care Carlos received was “woefully inadequate,” and as a result, she killed herself.
Santiago Sierra-Sanchez also died at an ICE facility due to a staph infection and pneumonia. According to experts, the “[m]edical staff essentially abandoned this patient by not properly assessing him or following up.”
After Human Rights Watch and CIVIC released their report, ICE spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea said the agency is reviewing the report so they may determine whether changes should be made. Unfortunately, by the time the agency decides to make any changes, it might be too late.
Undocumented immigrants will continue to be exposed to the same neglect they have been subjected to for the past five years.
How long until Congress or other Washington officials act on this issue so nobody's rights are trampled regardless of their legal status as immigrants?
As we all know, it's not like President Donald Trump cares what happens to these immigrants, so pressure will have to come from elsewhere.
It's time to start calling our representatives.