New Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Serious Healthcare Deficiencies in ICE Detention Centers

Fifteen plaintiffs and two nonprofit organizations have filed a new class action lawsuit seeking improvement of what is reported to be severely inadequate healthcare in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities. Filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, Disability Rights Advocates, and the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, the lawsuit does not seek money damages, but instead requests that ICE closely track these conditions and improve healthcare at its facilities.

ICE currently detains approximately 55,000 people on any given day, a significant increase over the average of roughly 34,000 people per day in 2016. Detainees are held in facilities that are mostly run by private companies. The new lawsuit alleges not only that the medical and mental healthcare services in ICE facilities are dangerously deficient, but that insufficient oversight by federal agencies has resulted in systemic discrimination against detainees with disabilities. These conditions are alleged to have resulted in adverse health consequences for countless detainees, and also created barriers to detainees’ ability to access legal services or assert their rights in deportation and other legal proceedings.

Additional Reading

ICE provides ‘deplorable’ healthcare to detained immigrants, advocates allege in massive lawsuit, The Los Angeles Times, August 19, 2019

Class Action Complaint, Fraihat et al. v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement et al., filed August 19, 2019

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