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Lawsuit: Immigration officials fail to give ‘basic’ care to detained migrants

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Aug. 19 (UPI) — “Abject failure” by federal immigration officials to provide basic medical care has led to the deaths of some migrants detained by the Trump administration, a class-action lawsuit said Monday.

The 210-page lawsuit — filed in California on behalf of 15 people detained at eight facilities, and representing a class of about 55,000 migrants detained on any given day — accuses U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of failing to ensure appropriate medical and mental healthcare to its charges. Such care is mandated by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.

The Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center, two of the organizations representing the plaintiffs, said ICE is delaying or outright denying medical care, punitively using solitary confinement, failing to provide mental healthcare, and discriminating against people who require disability accommodations.

“This administration’s horrific mistreatment of immigrants is not limited to individuals at the border,” said Lisa Graybill, deputy legal director for the SPLC. “The fact that immigrant detention is supposed to be civil, and not punitive, is a distinction without a difference when it comes to how detained immigrants are treated.

“At least 26 people have died since Trump took office, and tens of thousands have suffered as a result of the federal government‘s abject failure to provide basic medical care at the facilities where taxpayers are spending billions to detain immigrants. More will suffer, and more will die, without court intervention.”

Specifically, the suit names ICE, the Department of Homeland Security, DHS chief Kevin McAleenan and seven other officials.

The mother of plaintiff Luis Manual Rodriguez Delgadillo, 29, said ICE denied her son his routine mental health medication upon his detention in March, which led to hallucinations and other symptoms.

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Jose Segovia Benitez, who was diagnosed with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, hearing loss, traumatic brain injury and a heart condition after a blast in Iraq, has received “insufficient cardiac care” while detained in solitary confinement, the lawsuit says.

Immigrants with disabilities are at heightened risk of discrimination in detention,” said Stuart Seaborn, managing director of litigation for Disability Rights Advocates. “Detained individuals who are deaf or have mobility disabilities are regularly denied access to assistive devices, without which they may not be able to communicate, meet their needs, or participate in programming.”

Conditions at migrant shelters and detention facilities have come under scrutiny in recent months. A federal appeals court in California ruled last week that children at shelters must have access to basic hygiene products and adequate sleep.

A lower district court found that minors held in these detention centers lacked a sufficient number of hot, edible meals, adequate access to drinking water, and experienced unsanitary conditions in cells and bathrooms.

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