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Call to Action: Support Detainee Basic Medical Care Act (rev. 6/2008)

By June 16, 2008 No Comments

CALL TO ACTION for Detainee Basic Medical Care Act
H.R. 5950 and S. 3005

(Rev. June 16, 2008)

Inhumane conditions in detention centers and even deaths (83 in the past five years) have prompted the introduction of the “Detainee Basic Medical Care Act” which if passes would:

  • Requires the Department of Homeland Security to establish procedures for the timely and effective delivery of medical and mental health care to immigration detainees in DHS custody. Without such procedures, detainees will continue to suffer and due unnecessarily under DHS’ watch. The procedures will provide continuity of care for detainees with serious medical or mental health conditions, from the time or arrival at a detention facility until final discharge;
  • Ensures that all treatment decisions be made by impartial medical or mental health professionals. This bill will require DHS to respond timely to all requests for medical or mental health care. Any denials of requests for care can be appealed to an impartial board comprised of medical experts; and
  • Requires DHS to report all immigration detainee deaths to the Office of Inspector General and to Congress. DHS is not currently required to keep track of immigration detainee deaths or to publicly report the deaths. The absence of a mandatory reporting requirement leaves Congress and the public in the dark.

1) Call your Representative and Senator and urge her/him to co-sponsor H.R. 5950 and S. 3005, respectively. The Capitol Switchboard is (202) 224-3121. To find out who your Representative is, input your address at www.house.gov.

2) Participate in Night of 1,000 Conversations. Get your friends, family, and co-workers together to talk about how the Department of Homeland Security’s conduct as a federal agency fails to protect basic due process rights. Moreover, it brings to question whether our nation is in fact going in the right direction of upholding the most cherished of American principles of fairness, justice, and civil liberties. For more information, contact NAKASEC at 323.937.3703, ext. 206 or visit www.nightof1000conversations.org.

Further information on the bill is available at http://www.thomas.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HR05950:@@@P and http://www.thomas.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:SN03005:@@@P.

To see recent reporting on the issue, you can go to:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/specials/immigration/index.html
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/i/immigration_detention_us/incustody_deaths/index.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/05/09/60minutes/main4083279.shtml?source=mostpop_story