California transfers many deportable non-citizens who are released from prisons and jails – because they have completed sentences, earned parole, or been granted bail – into the federal immigration detention system. As a result, California’s prisons and jails significantly contribute to the immigration detention population, Human Rights Watch said.
In its 13 years of investigations into medical care in US immigration detention, Human Rights Watch repeatedly found evidence of severely substandard care as well as a systemic failure by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to address problems identified by ICE’s own experts in federal facilities in California.
The amicus submission included the case of Jose Azurdia, who died of a heart attack in the Adelanto detention facility in California. Azurdia showed signs of illness but a nurse declined to check on him because “she did not want to see Azurdia because she did not want to get sick,” according to an ICE investigation.
“ICE’s record shows that it is wholly unprepared to address a public health crisis of this magnitude or to address the health needs of any people added to the detention system,” Meng said. “If immigrants and workers in immigration detention in California get sick at high rates, hospitals in California’s communities are also likely to become overloaded.”