US Immigration detention neglects health


asylum-seekers2originally published: 17th March 2009

The medical care system in US immigration detention is dangerously inadequate, with unique consequences for women, and improving health care for immigration detainees should be a top priority for the new administration, Human Rights Watch and the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC) said.

In two reports released today, Human Rights Watch and FIAC document numerous instances in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) botched, delayed or denied medical care, causing suffering and even death.

The 78-page Human Rights Watch report, “Detained and Dismissed: Women’s Struggles to Obtain Health Care in United States Immigration Detention,” documents dozens of cases in which the immigration agency’s medical staff either failed to respond at all to health problems of women in detention or responded only after considerable delays.

“Women in detention described violations such as shackling pregnant detainees or failing to follow up on signs of breast and cervical cancer, as well as basic affronts to their dignity,” said Meghan Rhoad, researcher in the women’s rights division at Human Rights Watch. “Because immigration detention is the fastest-growing form of incarceration in the United States, these abuses are especially dangerous. They remain largely hidden from public scrutiny or effective oversight.”

Read full report >


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