Detained immigrants are often denied proper medical care, sometimes leading to death, charged reports released by advocacy groups yesterday, says the St. Petersburg Times. In many cases, officials of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency “botched, delayed or denied medical care,” said Human Rights Watch and the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center. At Florida’s Glades County Detention Center, a mentally handicapped Haitian died after suffering seizures and a Honduran man nearly suffered the same fate after failing to receive treatment for acute appendicitis. The Human Rights Watch report focused on female detainees, describing pregnant detainees being shackled and failure to follow up on signs of breast and cervical cancer.
“ICE needlessly detains people with severe illnesses and those who pose no harm to U.S. communities,” unnecessarily driving up costs, said the report. A Washington Post investigation last year found that 83 detainees have died in ICE custody nationwide since its creation in 2003. At least four more questionable deaths have occurred since then, the advocacy center said. In December 2008, ICE revised its medical care standards. Congress has ordered the agency to spend $2 million this year on a thorough review of its medical care.