Report reveals ‘barbaric, negligent’ treatment of migrants in US detention centers

Report reveals ‘barbaric, negligent’ treatment of migrants in US detention centers

Inspectors examine over 24 detention centers of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 16 US states from 2017 to 2019

By Burak Dag

Migrants held in the detention centers of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) experienced "negligent" medical care, "unsafe and filthy" conditions, and racist abuse, a report said.

Inspectors, assigned by the Department of Civil Rights and Freedoms of the Ministry of Homeland Security to investigate human rights violations in these centers, prepared a 1,600-page confidential report.

The report, published by the National Public Radio (NPR), funded by public donations in the US, revealed the conditions of those held in ICE centers.

Inspectors examined more than 24 ICE-owned detention centers in 16 US states from 2017 to 2019.

They found "negligent" medical care, including mental health care, "unsafe and filthy" conditions, racist abuse of detainees, inappropriate pepper-spraying of mentally ill detainees and other problems that, in some cases, contributed to detainee deaths.

The report revealed that one person was held without a bandage, with an open wound due to surgery in the center in Michigan. The person in custody did not have any medical follow-up appointments.

The report also said that the detainee did not receive even the most basic care for his wound.

In Georgia, a nurse ignored an ICE detainee who urgently asked for an inhaler to treat his asthma. Even though he was never examined by the medical staff, the nurse put a note in the medical record that "he was seen in sick call."

In Pennsylvania, a group of correctional officers strapped a mentally ill male ICE detainee into a restraint chair and gave the lone female officer a pair of scissors to cut off his clothes for a strip search.

"There is no justifiable correctional reason that required the detainee who had a mental health condition to have his clothes cut off by a female officer while he was compliant in a restraint chair. This is a barbaric practice and clearly violates ... basic principles of humanity,” the report said.

Both the former US President Donald Trump and the Joe Biden administration have avoided sharing the report, which reveals the practices against immigrants for more than three years.

NPR, which filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, was able to access the report as a result of the federal judge's decision.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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