Detained and Denied: Healthcare Access in Immigration Detention

Sola Stamm, Reena Arora, Laura Redman, and Evelin Gomez
Date of Publication: 
February, 2017
Source Organization: 

As the Trump administration threatens to deport an increasing number of immigrants, immigration advocates have expressed concern over the state of health care treatment within detention centers. The New York Lawyers for Public Interest (NYLPI) provides legal representation and advocacy work for undocumented immigrants in ICE custody. NYPLI reports in Detained and Denied: Healthcare Access in Immigration Detention that immigrant detention facilities often provide sub-par health care to detained individuals and fail to provide timely and adequate medical care to accommodate the medical needs of the incarcerated population. Under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. constitution, detained immigrants have a right to adequate healthcare. ICE itself also has issued official "performance-based standards" for medical care.  NYPLI collected information on the state of medical care at detention facilities through a review of complaint records and interviews with 47 individuals with serious medical conditions who were held in immigration detention in the New York metropolitan area. The researchers found recurring deficiencies in medical care, including incomplete intake assessments, lack of interpreters for patient-doctor communication, denied or severely delayed medical care, and inadequate departure planning for continuing medical care. These deficiencies, the authors argue, have endangered the lives of detainees and undermined their basic human dignity. The report concludes with a recommendation that ICE detention facilities be mandated to comply with performance standards regarding comprehensive health care and be held legally accountable for the care of detained individuals. (Mia Fasano for The Immigrant Learning Center)

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Stamm, S., Arora, R., Redman, L., & Gomez, E. (2017). Detained and Denied: Healthcare Access in Immigration Detention (Report) (p. 20). New York, NY: New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. Retrieved from