Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Another Administration Horror Story

According to a horrifying story in today's NY Times at least 62 immigrants have died in Department of Homeland Security custody since 2004, many for lack of adequate medical attention. People with known conditions and who must take medication have not received treatment while being held. I say "at least" because apparently this system has no formal governmental oversight on such issues, so nobody has been keeping track of such details.

No government body is charged with accounting for deaths in immigration detention, a patchwork of county jails, privately run prisons and federal facilities where more than 27,500 people who are not American citizens are held on any given day while the government decides whether to deport them.

Getting details about those who die in custody is a difficult undertaking left to family members, advocacy groups and lawyers.
[Emphasis added]

And why is there no formal oversight? The Department of Homeland Security doesn't want any because it might affect how they operate (well duh!).

Detention standards were adopted by the immigration agency in 2000, but are not legally enforceable, unlike rules for the treatment of criminal inmates. The Department of Homeland Security has resisted efforts by the American Bar Association to turns the standards into regulations, saying that rulemaking would reduce the agency’s flexibility. [Emphasis added]

Sounds a little like Guantanamo Bay, doesn't it? The only difference is that these people are being held on American soil, but under this administration, I guess that doesn't matter.



Anonymous Nora said...

They are so afraid of any kind of supervision or oversight that you just know it's not mere paranoia that's behind it. There must be real negligence, perhaps even criminal wrongdoing, that they're trying to cover up. Otherwise, why would they fight so hard against letting anyone know what they're doing?

1:57 PM  

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