Nina Bernstein of the New York Times has reported that a public interest law center (Texas Appleseed), and a corporate law firm (Akin Gump) have compiled an 88-page report that examines the way the mentally incompetent are treated when they are taken into custody by ICE in New York or other Northern Cities. These immigrants are subsequently moved to Texas far from their families and the mental health workers who are familiar with their medical history in anticipation of deportation, with sometimes fatal results.
Compounding the problem, ICE removes many of these individuals from mental hospitals without their medication, or their medical records thereby preventing any future custodian from being able to safely care for them after transfer.
What is even more shameful is the fact that ICE is ignoring its own discretionary authority to leave these individuals in their current settings in the hands of competent medical workers, and instead chooses to move them to deportation facilities that are ill-equipped to care for them and where their conditions rapidly deteriorate.
The Times reports that deportation officers may be ignoring humanitarian and medical concerns due to pressures from the Obama administration to meet a 400,000 deportation quota in 2010.
Examples The Times highlighted from the report include:
- "a delusional man who was deported four days earlier than planned, though his parents had arranged for his voluntary departure to Mexico, where his mother was to pick him up. Two years later, the man has not been found, but a body matching his description is in a morgue in Mexico."
- "a 50-year-old legal permanent resident with schizophrenia who had lived in New York City since 1974. In November, a New York criminal court declared him incompetent to stand trial on a trespassing charge and ordered him to serve 90 days in a mental institution. Instead, he was transferred to the Willacy County Regional Detention Facility in South Texas, to face a deportation proceeding without counsel — so abruptly, the report said, that his family and lawyer did not know what had happened. At the detention center, he received no medication for weeks, and in March, he was deported to the Dominican Republic."
- "a schizophrenic woman who spoke only Russian, left in a dangerous area at 1 a.m."
- "a man lost for a week on his way back from Texas to his family in Maryland."
There comes a time when you just have to call it like you see it: Obama’s public proclamation of his ‘unwavering’ commitment to immigration reform in no way reflects the treatment of immigrants in his custody.
The reality is that Obama’s only ‘unwavering’ commitment is the commitment to deport an estimated 2 million people in his first term in office.
Is this what you voted for?