House Dems Decry Medical Care at Immigration Centers

A Democratic-led House Oversight Committee report claimed medical mismanagement and falsified records might have contributed to the deaths of immigrants held at private detention centers contracted by the federal government.

The report, titled “The Trump Administration’s Mistreatment of Detained Immigrants: Deaths and Deficient Medical Care by For-Profit Detention Contractors,” was written by Democratic committee staffers and focused on facilities run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

It accuses the contractors of “systemic health and safety issues at immigration detention facilities” including being “grossly negligent” in the death of one detainee who died of meningitis in 2018.

The authors said they visited 20 facilities in Arizona, California, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. It singled out two private contractors, CoreCivic and GEO Group, which it said had been awarded $5 billion in contracts since 2017.

Roll Call quoted a statement from ICE noting all of its facilities are subjected to “aggressive inspections program,” and most inspections are conducted by a third-party contractor.

An ICE spokesman referred Roll Call to a 2018 Office of Inspector General report, which noted ICE’s Office of Detention Oversight “uses effective methods and processes to thoroughly inspect facilities and identify deficiencies.”

Regardless, committee chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., called for the end of private contractors and the release of many of the detainees.

“This broken system needs fundamental reforms, including enhancing internal and external oversight, ending the use of private prison contractors, and significantly decreasing the number of immigrants detained in the first place — all choices the administration could make right now,” she said in a statement.

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