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Report says poor medical care at detention facilities fatal

South Carolina residents may have heard some of the controversy about detention centers where immigrants are housed while awaiting word on their cases. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is responsible for substandard health care that sometimes leads to death, according to a report prepared by a coalition that include the Detention Watch Network, the ACLU and the National Immigrant Justice Center.

The report focused on eight deaths in which a poor standard of medical care contributed. One 54-year-old man from Mexico complained for weeks of symptoms, but he spoke an indigenous language and an interpreter was not made available. The report said that the staff failed to treat the man in a timely fashion, and he died of cardiomyopathy after he was transferred from the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona to a hospital in Tucson.

One 31-year-old man is officially reported to have committed suicide after being placed on watch due to aggressiveness and delusions. However, other detainees report that the man was beaten. His family has hired an attorney and says they do not believe he was suicidal. The groups that compiled the reports are asking for more transparency and that fewer immigrants should be detained. Some believe the centers should be closed altogether.

Many people may be unaware of their rights as immigrants in the country whether or not they are documented. An attorney may explain those rights and assist people with their efforts to remain in the country. Even if people are facing deportation due to a criminal conviction or for other reasons, there may be avenues by which they can remain in the country. People who feel that they or their family members have been mistreated at a detention center may also want to discuss their situation with an attorney.

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