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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Congress Investigates Immigrants Dying in U.S. Detention Centers

Today members of the U.S. Senate are questioning Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Julie Meyers over reports of medical negligence and deaths of immigrants in ICE detention, as well as improper detentions of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

During a news conference with families of immigrants who have died in U.S. custody, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said in response to those being neglected in detention centers, "The Constitution is what makes this country unique in the world, and its presumption of fundamental rights for all people at the end of the day makes us the beacon of light for the rest of the world. I am not willing to have it eroded."

Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Representative John Conyers (D-MI) and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), head of the Immigration Subcommittee will be holding a hearing after the Memorial Day recess.

An LA Times Editorial entitled "Immigrants Detained to Death", characterized the grim situation for immigrants in detention, stating that “Such callousness reflects a neglect that is shockingly permissible against immigrants nationwide. The country's 300 immigrant detention centers, including facilities in Los Angeles, have voluntary healthcare standards, not mandatory ones. Because of that, immigrants who are detained at the centers -- some are in the country illegally; others are held because of clerical errors or while they wait for their asylum claims to be heard -- often are subjected to indifference, even cruelty.”

DHS Will Face Questions on Care of Detained Immigrants, Washington Post, 5/22/08
Immigrants Detained to Death, Los Angeles Times, 5/20/08


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