NYLPI report on medical neglect in immigrant detention facilities inspires Senators to demand a response from the Trump administration.

June 5, 2017

Health Justice, Health in Immigration Detention, Immigrant Justice, Legislative, UndocuCare

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand led a letter with 11 Senate colleagues to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly demanding answers to a series of urgent questions after multiple reports of inhumane conditions in immigrant detention centers. Detained immigrants are not receiving adequate medical attention when they need it. The United States maintains the largest immigration detention infrastructure in the world, detaining approximately 380,000 to 442,000 persons per year.

“We have received multiple reports of detainees ending up hospitalized due to delays in treatment, or because they did not receive needed medication, or because of the lack of treatment plans provided for people with serious mental illness after being released from detention facilities,” the Senators wrote in the letter.

Three main points of NYLPI health in immigration detention program highlighted in the Senators letter include: current procedures for health intake assessments and discharge planning that ensure continuity of care, DHS provision of critical medical treatment such as dialysis and blood-transfusions, procedures and training to ensure limited English proficient (LEP) persons have access to qualified interpreters and translation services when seeking medical services.

“Earlier this year, our investigation exposed the growing human rights crisis in immigration detention facilities around New York City and documented serious, often life-threatening deficiencies in medical care.  People confined in immigration detention facilities are held solely to ensure they attend future administrative proceedings.  It is not supposed to be punitive.  Many have lived, worked and raised their families in our communities as our neighbors for decades.  They deserve access to basic healthcare in detention.  They are not getting it.  We support the Senators’ advocacy in this matter and hope the Senators’ actions will spur systemic change and restore justice to this vulnerable community. President Trump promises to deport more people; if more people are detained, the threat to their health will only increase,” said Laura Redman, Director of Health Justice at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

Current administration is expected to send a formal response to the letter within the next 30 days.

Read the press release statement from Senator Gillibrand’s office here.

Read the full text of the Senator’s letter here.

Read the full NYLPI report on medical care in detention here.

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