The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and other civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for allegedly providing inadequate medical and mental health care at migrant detention facilities.
According to the lawsuit, ICE has failed to provide appropriate medical and mental health care at the 158 facilities it runs around the country. Plaintiffs claim that they were provided with inadequate care at the facilities they reside at.
One plaintiff in the lawsuit says that he lost vision in his left eye after not receiving surgery recommended by a doctor. Another plaintiff claims that he was given too much insulin and not evaluated by a doctor afterward. A third plaintiff says that he injured his back and couldn’t walk without assistance but hasn’t been given a physical therapy appointment.
“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 twenty-six 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,” Lisa Graybill, deputy legal director for the SPLC said and, “More will suffer, and more will die, without court intervention.”
ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said ICE does not comment on pending litigation but that all individuals in ICE custody do receive comprehensive medical care. He also said that detainees have access to dental care and 24-hour emergency care.
The lawsuit seeks to make ICE take immediate steps to improve conditions at the facilities and provide adequate staffing.
“We ask that if ICE cannot ensure the safety and well-being of those in its custody, it has to take measures to release them. They cannot be continually subjected to these abusive and inhumane conditions,” said Elissa Johnson, a senior attorney with the SPLC.