Monday, May 5, 2008

Death In Detention

Immigration advocates have been going aggressively after ICE for the conditions under which immigrants are held in detention, waiting sometimes months for their cases to be resolved in immigration court. They are not criminals; their offense has only been civil. Yet this detention system is, the fastest growing form of incarceration in the U.S. Human rights groups have cited many grievances against it:
  • its hodgepodge nature (federal, local and now more often private centers),
  • distance from family and lawyers,
  • care and education of children detained,
  • unequal standards of conditions from center to center.
  • quality of health care,
  • access to the detainees by relatives, lawyer and even clergy
  • quick transfers without notification to immediate families or lawyer.

These are just the most egregious abuses of detainees' rights. Now the NY Times, in an investigative piece, reports on deaths during detention by ICE. In just short of two years ICE reports sixty-six detainees have died. The list of names released often were inaccurate in detail or misleading. The Times followed up on some of the names to flesh out those details. The story it uncovered is one of neglect of detainees and of silence or even misinformation to families and lawyers. The Times article follows in particular a case of African injured at a center in New Jersey who eventually died in a Newark hospital.

Many Cubans and Haitians have long come to the U.S. by sea. Now it's becoming something a phenomenon in the Pacific as well -- with the attendant perils. (See Chicago Tribune article.)

No comments: