Is ICE Denying Health Care to Immigrant Detainees

Date Put forth on August 9, 2007 by XicanoPwr
Category Posted in Concentration Camp, ICE, Immigration, La Migra, Nativism, Racism, Uncategorized, Xenophobia


Kyle from Immigration Orange just informed me that on Tuesday August 7th, 2007, Edimar Alves Araujo, a 34 year-old immigrant a Brazilian national, died in federal custody because he was denied access to his medication for his epilepsy. His sister, Irene Araujo, told the Boston Herald his death could have been avoided if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers his medication were not with held from him. On Tuesday, she went to the Woonsocket Police station twice to let police know Araujo suffered from epilepsy and needed to take phenobarbital, an anti-epileptic drug, in the event of a seizure.

Araujo said police refused to take it, saying her brother could tell them if he needed medication. She said a friend tried again to bring the medication to him Wednesday morning, but learned her brother had died.

Paula Grenier, a spokesperson for the ICE Boston office, said that less than an hour after he was transferred to the custody of ICE, Araujo was rushed to the Rhode Island Hospital where he died at 4:18 pm. The media mentioned that during his processing at ICE Detention and Removal Center (DRO) in Providence, he showed signs of physical distress, and immigration agents called 911. However, there is no ICE DRO Office in Providence, RI (link is a screen cap). The only ICE facility is the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center located in Central Falls, RI. On August 1, the facility recently changed owners, for the last 13 years, it was owned by Cornell Corrections. Wyatt’s now belongs to The Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation. Where did they call 911 from, that is what I definitely want to know, was this en route to Wyatt or did this occur at the police station or did this happen at the Detention Center? What is known so far is that Grenier told the Herald that ICE “agents attended to his care while awaiting for the arrival of the EMT.”

We also know his death is also a bit of a mystery too. Irene told the Milford Daily News that he had contacted her twice that day and sounded fine. The first one was shortly after Edmar was stopped by Woonsocket, RI, Police and the second time she talked to him was shortly before he was picked up by ICE. This is not the first time this has occurred under ICE custody. Edmar Araujo is the latest of 63 immigrants to die in administrative custody since 2004, according to Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA).

Edmar, was apprehended Tuesday by the Woonsocket Police after a traffic stop. He had lived in Milford, MA since he came here five years ago. Before his arrest, he had gone to Woonsocket to see his sister and visit his brother’s place because he was planning to move in with him. He worked at a gas station and intended to start working as a painter in Woonsocket. Now, know of this will happen. Even sadder, Irene will now have to make that one call no parent ever wants to receive.

The problems of isolation, inhumane conditions, and lack of reliable access to legal counsel and health care that characterize immigration detention in general are particularly problematic, especially for women. In December 2006, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General released an audit of five immigrant detention facilities, finding that all five facilities violated some aspect of the detention standards.

The Inspector General reported that detainees had contended that physical, sexual, and verbal abuse by corrections officers was taking place at all five facilities and criticized ICE for not following their own standards in addressing detainee reporting of abuse. The Inspector General also reported that medical personnel did not respond to medical requests from detainees within an appropriate timeframe.

Regarding health care standards, we identified instances of non-compliance at four of the five detention facilities, including timely initial and responsive medical care. Also, we identified environmental health and safety concerns at three of five detention facilities reviewed. We identified instances of non-compliance with ICE Detention Standards regarding general conditions of confinement at the five facilities, including disciplinary policy, classifying detainees, and housing together detainees classified at different security levels. Two facilities also had inadequate inventory controls over detainee funds and personal property.

The lack of health care standards is just the tip of the iceberg, there are reports of detainees being fed spoiled food and detainees suffering from heat exhaustion in detention centers where there are air conditioning problems. Victor Castillo for CBS affiliate KGBT-TV in Harlingen, TX reported that in Willacy detention center in Raymondville, TX, over 30 detainees are complaining about the conditions inside, an allegation confirmed by security guards. Facility security guards have recorded in their logbooks that dozens of undocumented immigrants that have found maggots in their food and nothing is being done to rectify the matter. The guards have also reported that the situation was so bad for one immigrant, he attempted to commit suicide.

The federal detention center located in Raymondville which houses two-thousand undocumented immigrants has received criticism for allegedly feeding detainees contaminated or rotten food.

An action 4 News investigation reveals that in one instance, over 30 detainees reported that the quantity and quality of food are deplorable, an allegation confirmed by at least two security guards.

Castillo has also reported that detainees are denied toiletries to keep their most basic sanitary needs, and that they are not allowed to communicate with the outside world, nevertheless finding an attorney or any kind of legal assistance, which is a clear violation of the ICE Detention Standard for Telephone Access, which states that each facility is required to provide detainees access to telephones so they are are able to have access to legal services, to the consular offices of their native country, and access to the courts.

Moreover, there are reports that people have already fainted because of air conditioning problems, a problem frequently experience during the summer and wintertime. Security guards are concerned that things may get out of hand and that “one of these days … one of these officers is going to hurt a detainee.”

All these atrocities are not just a violation of a person’s basic human rights, but a violation of the standards that were put into place in January 2000 by the Department of Justice through the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the US Marshals Service (USMS), the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service – and the Civil Rights Division. According to the Department of Justice, these standards apply to all detention facilities to ensure that detainees are “safe, secure, and such facilities provide the basic services needed by federal detainees.” Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the Detention Standards and Compliance Division of the Justice Department to “ensure the adequacy and sufficiency of services provided in non-federal detention facilities that house federal detainees.”

The existing border controls are not just violating a person’s universal human rights, but they are racist and help to legitimize racism. Once again I must ask. How many more atrocities must be committed before any of this madness is brought to an end? How can we see another’s woe and not be in sorrow too? How can we see another’s grief and not seek to ease their pain? How can we see a falling tear, and not feel for their sorrow?

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  1. Gravatar Icon kyledeb Aug 9th, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    XP,

    No one can rake through the mud like you. Let’s put the authorities on the defense on this one. Let’s ask the officials to investigate this death. The Rhode Island Attorney General’s office is a good place to start.

    Rhode Island AG’s Patrick Lynch site

    http://www.riag.state.ri.us/
    150 South Main Street
    Providence, RI 02903
    Phone: (401) 274-4400
    Patrick Lynch ext. 2338
    directory http://www.riag.ri.gov/directory.php
    Wiki on him http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_C._Lynch
    Apparently he played pro basketball in Ireland(!!??!)

    Only email I could fine was the press office mhealey@riag.ri.gov

    They are going to say that there is not a need to investigate this since Araujo died in federal custody. But it was the Woonsocket police that initially detained Araujo and according to the Boston Globe they turned his sister away when she tried to bring in medication.

    In order to get federal officials to investigate ICE we’re going to have to go to United State’s Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island. The contact information for them is:

    United States Attorney’s Office – District of Rhode Island
    50 Kennedy Plaza, 8th Floor
    Providence, RI 02903
    Main Office Phone: (401) 709-5000
    Fax: (401) 709-5001

    LECC / Public Affairs Officer, Thomas Connell
    (401) 709-5032

    Victim-Witness Coordinator, Gale James
    (401) 709-5023

    It’s time to fight back.

  2. Gravatar Icon nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez Aug 9th, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    estoy de acuerdo. XP is king mud raker.

  3. Gravatar Icon Professor Zero Aug 10th, 2007 at 7:52 am

    Yes. Also – in general it does not seem that jails know what to do about people who need medication (unless they already know them, as in a prison). I had some trouble fairly recently getting insulin to a diabetic in parish prison here (=county jail) and it was a similar thing – had to bail the person out because PP wouldn’t believe he needed medication. He’d been picked up due to diabetic attack, low blood sugar, they thought it was a Drug Thing, and the last thing they wanted was insulin and oh my, a syringe.

    [It was my ex, I was sick of him not eating so he'd have a crisis so I'd have to rescue him, this was why I was going to let him get his own self out of jail, but no insulin = certain death !!!]

  4. Gravatar Icon kyledeb Aug 10th, 2007 at 11:54 am

    Hey XP,

    The link on immigration orange is broken because of technical difficulties but here’s a new one.

    I think best way to put ICE on the defensive on this one is to call the Rhode Island Attorney General (RIAG) and the U.S. District Attorney for Rhode Island and pressure them into investigating Araujo’s death. The RIAG will say it is a federal matter but Araujo’s sister was turned away from the Woonsocket police when she wanted to bring her brother his medication. The Woonsocket police are under the RIAG’s jurisdiction. Their contact information is as follows.

    Rhode Island Attorney General
    http://www.riag.state.ri.us/
    150 South Main Street
    Providence, RI 02903
    Phone: (401) 274-4400
    Patrick Lynch ext. 2338
    directory http://www.riag.ri.gov/directory.php

    Email is mhealey@riag.ri.gov

    United States Attorney’s Office – District of Rhode Island

    50 Kennedy Plaza, 8th Floor
    Providence, RI 02903
    Main Office Phone: (401) 709-5000
    Fax: (401) 709-5001

    LECC / Public Affairs Officer, Thomas Connell
    (401) 709-5032

    Victim-Witness Coordinator, Gale James
    (401) 709-5023

    Email is thomas.connell@usdoj.gov

  5. Gravatar Icon XicanoPwr Aug 11th, 2007 at 10:04 am

    Cero – now that is wacked. The police are getting power hungry. As they continue to be given more power, I fear one day, we as a society will be to afraid to leave our homes.

    I do admire your compassion. I would imagine that it must have been really hard for you considering it didn’t go as well as you hoped it did. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Gravatar Icon El Gato Aug 11th, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Estas cosas me enojan tanto!

    Is there nothing that the Minutemen-types and the anti-Latino secret police in the government won’t stoop to? It’s surprised me how much Massachusetts, a supposedly liberal state, has been so vicious toward Latinos here.

    We’re all probably familiar with other Latino-hating hotbeds such as Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Idaho, Arkansas, Montana and Indiana– all conservative states packed with Minuteman types– but Massachusetts has joined this ignominious list as well.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it now– if Latinos here in the USA are going to survive, we have to concentrate ourselves here geographically, in the states where we have growing political, social and demographic power. We have to become the majority in these states and attain political power and economic gains, it’s the only way we can protect and stand up for ourselves and, most importantly, to protect our brethren from south of the border who are being persecuted.

    The most important states for us to gather, and where our power is growing: California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and southern Florida. It’s in these states that we have the most power and potential to take control of events to our advantage. It’s here that we have our greatest historical presence both before and after the Mexican War, it’s in these states that Spanish is equal to English dating back to the treaties following la guerra estadounidense, most importantly, it’s here that we can control the institutions and lend protection to our brethren south of the Rio Grande who are being persecuted here.

    We can’t be dispersing these days.

    Debemos concentrarnos y nuestros esfuerzos aqui en esta region, especialmente en el suroeste, pues dentro de cinco, estara nosotros que gobernamos nuestro futuro y protegemos nuestros hermanos y hermanas que buscan la justicia!

  7. Gravatar Icon El Gato Aug 11th, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    BTW I now know dozens of other Latinos who’ve left Tennessee, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, Georgia– and, yes, Massachusetts– to resettle in our historical homelands from California thru Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and south Florida, and every single one is pleased with the choice.

    Only a slight increase in cost-of-living in some cases (and actually less expensive in many others), in return for living here with our kin, being able to stand up and protect each other, hablan espanol en estados donde se lo fomenta bajo la ley, and of course– and just as importantly– operating our own businesses as Latinos, catering to other Latinos and hiring Latinos. That is, fostering our own economy and our own community here against the racists who hate us and will always hate us, no matter how much we may try to pretend to be White for them.

    La unica manera de sobrevivir aqua, en nuestra tierra natal, es unirnos en esta tierra!

  8. Gravatar Icon El Gato Aug 12th, 2007 at 10:34 am

    Solo una otra punta while I’m on my little soapbox here– this is yet another argument here in favor of further fostering specifically Latino chambers of commerce and providing grants to specifically sponsor Latino businesses, which hire Latino workers and cater to Latino customers. This is a way to convert our budding demographic and economic power into social and political power as well, and it also provides a means for us to assist and protect our fellow Latinos who are suffering persecution. This should happen throughout the 50 states but, again, the Southwest and Florida should be our core for this.

    Along with increased home-schooling for our children– home-schooling in which we conduct a significant portion of the instruction using Spanish as the medium, ensuring that our kids know professional as well as basic Spanish– this is one of the ways that we can make a big difference for ourselves at the individual and group levels alike.

    Y es entre las mejoras maneras luchar para nuestros derechos con metodias que crecen nuestro poder economico al mismo tiempo que nos permite mejor protegamos nuestra gente aqui!

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