Give Immigrants Viable Medical Care in Detention Centers,_sharp_jab.jpg

Target: Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

Goal: Start giving viable and ethical medical care to  immigrants held in family detention centers around the country.

Migrant mothers are regularly being denied vital and life-saving medical treatment by their Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) captors in family detention centers around the country, according to recent complaints filed against the federal government. Regardless of these peoples’ immigration statuses they deserve safe and effective medical care. Demand that the government begin to provide such treatment to the people it has forced into these detention centers.

The complaints these brave migrant women have brought to light outline numerous alleged cases of disgusting neglect and mistreatment on the part of ICE staff. One person, a Honduran mother of two named Jessica, had been diagnosed with breast cancer and, even after vomiting nonstop for nine days, was not given access to a doctor.

A Guatemalan woman named Francisca had her appendix removed and was denied follow-up care and medication, being told instead to “drink water.” Another woman, who had multiple broken bones in her hand, was also told to do the same thing. Lastly, perhaps the most disturbing allegation is that at least 250 children in these detention centers were injected with adult doses of Hepatitis A vaccine, risking them with legitimate infection of the disease.

ICE’s family detention centers have never had a good track record of treating the people in them with dignity, so it’s not difficult to imagine the allegations in these complaints being true. If that’s the case, these people are being denied their fundamental human right to healthcare. Sign the petition below to demand that ICE begin to treat the people housed in its detention centers with common human decency and provide them legitimate medical care when they need it.


Dear Secretary Johnson,

I am writing you today regarding the formal complaint filed against Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security by a number of immigrant rights groups on behalf of ten mothers who were held in family detention centers in the recent past. I’m sure you’ll agree that the allegations being leveled are horrendous.

Just because these women and children are immigrants does not mean that they do not have the right to medical treatment and healthcare. Telling a person who had broken bones in their hands to drink water is not legitimate medical treatment. Keeping a person with breast cancer away from a doctor is deplorable. Vaccinating hundreds of children with adult doses of Hepatitis A is reckless.

All of these examples, as well as the others contained in the complaint, are unforgivable. These people deserve better and ICE needs to hold itself to a higher standard of conduct. I demand that you make ICE provide viable and legitimate healthcare to all the people it is holding in family detention centers around the country as soon as possible.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: UK Department for International Development

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