Sunday, May 11, 2008
Since immigration reform in 1996, the detention of immigrants has greatly expanded. Mark Dow's book American Gulag (University of California Press, 2004) documents the goings-on of this secret prison system. Over the last week, the Washington Post has published a series on immigrant detention that -- combined with a 60 Minutes segment -- hopefully will bring this travesty of justice to national attention.
Last week, we announced that the Washington Post would begin a four part series on immigrant detention ("Careless Detention"). Day 1 of the special 4-day Post report, includes links to documents, videos, and more:
"They are locked in a world of slow care, poor care and no care, with panic and coverups among employees watching it happen, according to a Post investigation. The investigation found a hidden world of flawed medical judgments, faulty administrative practices, neglectful guards, ill-trained technicians, sloppy record-keeping, lost medical files and dangerous staff shortages. It is also a world increasingly run by high-priced private contractors. ... Some 83 detainees have died in, or soon after, custody during the past five years. The deaths are the loudest alarms about a system teetering on collapse."
Based on confidential medical records and other sources, the Washington Post identified 83 deaths of immigration detainees between March 2003, when the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was created, and March 2008. The Post found that 30 of the deaths were questionable. Morethan two-thirds of the questionable deaths were of immigrants from Mexico and other nations in Latin America.
For ICE's icy response, click here. (Thanks to Cappy White for the assist on this.).
In Custody, In Pain Day 2 | This installment tells of the case of legal U.S. resident who is facing deportation and who may be suffering from cancer. It offers a glimpse into a medical system that often fails those who need it most. 60 Minutes did a powerful segment on immigrant detention in connection with the Post investigation, with a focus on the poor medical care provided immigrants. ImmigrationProf had reported on one horrible medical treatment case a while back.
Careless Detention: Part 3 of 4: "Many immigration detainees endure substandard medical care, but people with mental illness are relegated to the darkest and most neglected corners of the system." Washington Post, May 13, 2008.
Detainees Sedated for Travel Day 4: Federal immigration officials have called sedation of deportees rare and "an act of last resort." Neither is true, records and interviews indicate. The U.S. government has injected hundreds of foreigners it has deported with dangerous psychotropic drugs against their will to keep them sedated during the trip back to their home country, according to medical records, internal documents and interviews with people who have been drugged. The government's forced use of antipsychotic drugs, in people who have no history of mental illness, includes dozens of cases in which the "pre-flight cocktail," as a document calls it, had such a potent effect that federal guards needed a wheelchair to move the slumped deportee onto an airplane.