Health Care Standards Needed at Immigration Detention Centers, Opinion Piece States
"Unlike federal and state prisons, immigrant detention centers, many of which are run by private contractors, are not legally mandated to abide by any health care standards when it comes to treating sick immigrants," Sandra Hernandez, a staff writer for the legal newspaper Daily Journal, writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece. Hernandez continues, "In the absence of legally binding standards, detained immigrants ... have no legal way to complain about the lax health care they receive at the facilities where they are held," and "[t]hey cannot appeal the denial of care or sue in federal court to obtain it."
Hernandez writes that Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced legislation last month "that would require the Department of Homeland Security to adopt mandatory standards for care, allow detainees to appeal denial of care and require all deaths at detention centers to be reported to the department's inspector general and to the Department of Justice within 48 hours." Hernandez adds, "Hopefully the bill will not get lost in today's polarized debate about immigration," concluding, "If it does, and more people are allowed to die because of a lack of care, the detention centers will become one of the most shameful chapters in this nation's troubled immigration history" (Hernandez, Los Angeles Times, 6/1).