NEW YORK, May 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Illegal
migrants detained by U.S. authorities receive medical care so
flawed that it contributed to seven deaths, two human rights
groups reported on Monday.
The findings by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Community
Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) come
as authorities under President Donald Trump are ramping up
detention of immigrants in the United States without proper
Detained migrants are systematically subjected to
"substandard and dangerous medical care," including long delays
and staff providing care without professional licenses,
according to the findings. The report analyzed U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) records and conducted more than 90
"Subpar care contributed to seven" of 18 detention deaths
investigated by independent experts from 2012 to 2015, HRW and
CIVIC said in a statement.
"The data reveals that people in immigration detention died
needlessly," said Grace Meng, an HRW senior researcher.
One man who died of organ failure while detained in
California complained of symptoms of cancer for two years but
only received adequate medical attention a month before his
death, the report said.
The 44-year-old man had previously been treated merely with
ibuprofen, it said.
ICE is assigned to apprehend immigrants who are illegally in
the United States and if needed detain them in facilities it
runs or in facilities it contracts out.
An ICE spokeswoman said the agency would review the report.
"ICE is committed to ensuring the welfare of all those in
the agency's custody, including providing access to necessary
and appropriate medical care," Jennifer Elzea told the Thomson
Reuters Foundation in an email.
"At no time during detention will a detainee be denied
HRW and CIVIC said they are concerned over Trump's plan to
increase migrant detentions and said their findings point to a
"crisis" in detainee health care.
"We have a system that is broken for detainee health care,
and adding more detainees to that system can only make it
worse," said Marc Stern, a correctional health expert who
analyzed ICE records for the report, in a statement.
Just days after he was inaugurated president in January,
Trump issued an executive order aimed at holding migrants in
detention until their cases are heard and speeding up
He had campaigned on a promise to get tough on the nation's
estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.
(Reporting by Sebastien Malo @sebastienmalo, Editing by Ellen
Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the
charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian
news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate
change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)