The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for the health and welfare of families being detained in immigration detention facilities. Based on recent complaints, however, it seems that the DHS has failed to provide adequate medical care to the mothers and children in these facilities. In late July, ten mothers made formal complaints detailing the hardship they had endured; unfortunately, these appear to be just a few examples of a larger pattern of neglect by the DHS.
The complaints lodged in July mostly centered on treatment experiences at the facility in Dilley, Texas. They ranged from lengthy wait times, sometimes for up to 14 hours in the hot Texas sun, to outright denial of care, including to a woman suffering from breast cancer. Drinking water was advised as a cure to broken fingers and vomiting blood, and children were given adult Hepatitis A vaccines. Off-site medical care was not an improvement; when patients actually managed to receive off-site treatment, they were denied prescribed medication when they returned and children were left in the care of guards for days at a time while parents were at other locations.
Complaints Indicate Systemic Problems in Treatment of Immigrants
Mothers who presented the complaints had endured these deplorable conditions themselves and had also seen their children suffer from inadequate medical treatment. Some of the children had adverse reactions to vaccines such as vomiting, high fever, or some as severe as temporary paralysis. One of the mothers described the apparent apathy of the DHS to their suffering, saying that their only concern was keeping the families under their control.
The American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., the Immigrant Justice Corps, the Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services and the Women’s Refugee Commission came together to help the women submit their complaints to the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Office of Inspector General. These organizations called on the DHS to investigate the conditions in detention facilities and address these issues so that other undocumented immigrants do not have to similarly suffer from inadequate care.
Philadelphia Immigration Law Firm of Surin & Griffin, P.C. Advocate for Immigrant Population
Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. help individuals and families with all types of immigration issues. We understand that people come to this country for a better life, and we will prepare a sound legal strategy to get you the best possible outcome. Call us today at 215-925-4435 or contact us online to review your case with a qualified immigration lawyer.