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Advocates say immigration detention problems are rampant

Any number of issues could lead to an arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in Louisiana. Immigration detention centers are full of people who have been taken into custody, sometimes following incidents at a U.S. border, other times while awaiting hearings regarding possible deportation. Many immigrant advocates say there are major problems in some of these facilities, especially those on the West Coast.  

A 44-year-old man had reportedly complained about severe abdominal discomfort and other health-related issues over a period of two years. Sadly, he eventually died from a certain type of cancer that was ravaging his body. He was housed in a detention facility at the time and apparently was not provided any medical care until a month or so before he died.  

Several California laws, where this incident occurred, are supposedly designed to protect people from abuse in immigration detention centers. In a recently filed amicus brief, an attorney argued that the U.S. government is trying to block several California laws specifically meant to help officials monitor conditions in detention facilities. The attorney said the federal government's case may impede the state's ability to keep a close watch on detention practices to help ensure immigrants' safety.  

In addition to assault and medical neglect, there seems to be an alarming rate of suicide in many of the nation's immigration detention centers. Some believe many such cases are related to mentally ill people being placed in isolation. One county jail that housed both immigrants and county inmates reported more than 40 suicide attempts in just under three years. Any person in Louisiana facing problems regarding immigration detention may tap into local resources for support.  

Source: hrw.org, "US Suit Risks Cloaking Immigrant Detention Abuse", May 18, 2018

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