According to a recent Newsweek article, several immigration advocacy groups have accused U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of detaining an “alarming” number of infants at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas. The groups also claim that ICE is failing to provide the legally required level of care for these infants.
The American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network all demanded that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intervene immediately in the situation and release those families being held in federal custody. In particular, the advocates point to the lack of specialized medical care for these infants in the detention facility, citing lengthy delays in treatment and insufficient follow-up care. The lack of adequate medical care is exacerbated by the fact that Dilley is located in a rural area that it is more than one hour’s drive from San Antonio, which is the nearest metropolitan area with the required specialized medical care.
Additionally, the advocates noted that the DHS advisory committee on residential facilities, along with other medical and mental health experts, repeatedly have focused on the adverse effects of even brief detention on very young infants. Detained mothers have complained of abrupt changes in their infants’ formula, weight loss, difficulties feeding and sleeping, and other behavioral problems that continue to go unaddressed.
An ICE spokesperson indicated that ICE was looking into the matter, but that the agency was committed to providing the necessary care for all detainees, including infants. The spokesperson also stated that ICE spends more than $250 million annually to meet the healthcare needs of detained immigrants and ensures that all detainees have comprehensive medical care, including 24-hour emergency medical care. Our Texas immigration lawyers are here to offer you the experienced legal representation and advice that you need in order to resolve your immigration law matter. We can act as your guide through the complicated immigration process to obtain the relief that you are seeking. Call our office today and learn about the type of assistance we can offer you.