Aug 20, 2019 - Politics & Policy

ICE sued for failing to provide basic health care in detention centers

ICE grievance box in the high security unit at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange County.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement says comprehensive medical care is provided to everyone in ICE custody. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

A class action lawsuit filed Monday by civil rights groups alleges there's been an "abject failure" by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide basic medical and mental health care to migrants in 158 U.S. detention facilities.

The big picture: The suit, filed against ICE and Trump administration officials in the U.S District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that the defendants are "fully aware of the deplorable conditions" inside the facilities, but they're "deliberately indifferent" to a series of systemic failures inside the centres.

  • Department of Homeland Security chief Kevin McAleenan is among the officials named in the suit, filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and other immigration advocacy groups on behalf of 15 people detained at 8 ICE facilities.

The other side: ICE spokesman Bryan Cox told CNN the department doesn't comment on pending litigation but comprehensive medical care is provided to everyone in ICE custody. As of August 10, there were 55,530 people detained in ICE custody, per CNN.

  • Cox told the news outlet that detainees have access to dental care and 24-hour emergency care and that staffing includes registered nurses, licensed mental health providers, physician assistants and a physician.

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