Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Health Care for Detained Immigrants Criticized by Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch usually ferrets out gross violations of human rights in the obvious places -- the Sudan, Belarus, and the like. It had tweaked the Bush administration on Guantanamo and Abu Ghaif. Now it joins with Florida Immigration Center in implying that the dreadful health care afforded detained immigrants is a violation of international human rights standards. (See AP article.) Two years ago the issue was raised by ICE's own inspector general. The poor condition of health care to detainees was attributed to "non-compliance" to ICE's own standards because of the incompetence or indifference of the staff. The same charge is now made about detainees in Florida. ICE reports there have been 77 deaths of detainees. The advocacy groups argue that some were caused or hasten by neglect.

The Los Angeles Times reports that local law enforcement agencies like L.A. County Sheriff Office, confront by a budget crunch, has become addicted to housing detainees for ICE. There is big money in the practice -- more than $55 million last year going up to $57 million this year. Some other cities in Southern California are similarly addicted -- it amounts to 15% of Santa Ana's law enforcement budget..

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