Reporting from Buzzfeed News Thursday evening exposed how President Donald Trump's immigration policies led to four deaths and preventable surgeries for children held in the administration's detention regime, including one eight-year-old boy whose forehead was partially removed.
"I am sick to my stomach," said activist Sophie Ellman-Golan of the report's allegations.
Reporter Hamed Aleaziz broke the story, based on an internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) whistleblower report he obtained about conditions for immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The report is here (pdf).
Immigrants held in ICE jails received medical care so bad it resulted in 2 preventable surgeries, inc. an 8-yr-old who had to have part of his forehead removed, & contributed to 4 deaths, according to a complaint from a whistleblower.— Hamed Aleaziz (@Haleaziz) December 12, 2019
My investigation: https://t.co/ugsJE9eRC2
"The allegations appear in a DHS memo, obtained by BuzzFeed News, containing reports of detainees being given incorrect meds, suffering from delays in treating withdrawal symptoms, and one who was allowed to become so mentally unstable he lacerated his own penis and required surgery," Aleaziz said of the report on Twitter.
According to Aleaziz's reporting:
The allegations were laid out in a March 20 memorandum signed by Cameron Quinn, DHS's officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and sent to top ICE leadership. The memo describes the whistleblower as someone within the ICE Health Service Corps, or IHSC, which provides medical care and oversight for detainees in the agency's custody. BuzzFeed News does not know the person's identity.
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The allegations in the DHS memo, if corroborated, are a cry from someone working for ICE echoing what advocates, lawsuits, and other media reports have been saying for years: The medical care ICE provides and oversees for immigrants in private and local jails could be very bad.
Advocacy group Latino Victory opined that the memo's allegations were just examples of what ICE is meant to do under the president.
"ICE is operating exactly as the Trump administration wants it to when migrants are being so violently neglected," the group said.
In a call to action, immigrant youth organization United We Dream noted there's blame to go around for the treatment of migrants by the federal government.
"While horrific torture like this occurs inside immigration concentration camps, Democrats and Republicans are moving forward on funding the Trump's white supremacist agenda," said United We Dream.
"These aren't isolated events," said immigration legal services nonprofit RAICES. "This is systematic and it's happening across the country."
"We must #FreeThemAll," said RAICES, "and #EndDetention before it's too late."