In 2009, the Obama administration vowed to clean up chronic abuse in the deportation detention system after reports of detainees being left to die in cages after suffering untreated injuries and illness. ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton said the administration has "the responsibility to enforce our nation's immigration and customs laws, but we also have a responsibility to ensure the safety, security and well being of the individuals in our custody, and I am committed to both of these tremendous responsibilities."

Two years later nothing changed, and the Obama administration's pledge to clean up the immigration detention system was unfulfilled. Human Rights First (HRF) issued a report entitled Jails and Jumpsuits: Transforming the U.S. Immigration Detention System—A Two-Year Review.

HRF found that:

"...the overwhelming majority of detained asylum seekers and other civil immigration law detainees are still held in jails or jail-like facilities—almost 400,000 detainees each year, at a cost of over $2 billion. At these facilities, asylum seekers and other immigrants wear prison uniforms and are typically locked in one large room for up to 23 hours a day; they have limited or essentially no outdoor access, and visit with family only through Plexiglas barriers, and sometimes only via video, even when visitors are in the same building."

The American Civil Liberties Union also uncovered nearly 200 accusations of sexual abuse of immigrant detainees.

From the ACLU summary:

"Government documents obtained by the ACLU contain nearly 200 allegations of sexual abuse of immigration detainees jailed at detention facilities across the nation since 2007 alone. The documents were obtained from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and ICE. While the information gleaned from the documents likely does not represent the full scope of the problem given that sexual abuse is notoriously under-reported, the documents nonetheless make clear that the sexual abuse of immigration detainees is not an isolated problem limited to a few rogue facilities or to a handful of bad-apple government contractors who staff some of the nation’s immigration jails. According to the documents, while facilities in Texas are the focus of more allegations by far than any other state, sexual abuse allegations have come from nearly every state in the nation that houses an immigration detention facility."

And here we are two terms later.

A complaint has been filed with the Department of Homeland Security by Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) citing 61 cases illustrating a pattern of substandard medical care, and that ICE failed to conduct sufficient oversight of the medical care at Hudson in the Hudson County Correctional Facility (Hudson), located in Kearney, New Jersey. The complaint alleges Hudson has established a pattern and practice of substandard medical care, resulting in delays in cancer diagnoses, rapid weight loss in diabetic patients, and an outbreak of a fungal orbacterial infection, among others. It has been argued that Hudson’s pattern and practice of substandard medical care violates the U.S. Constitution, the New Jersey Torts Claims Act, and ICE’s federal standards.

The type of abuse and neglect cited include:

• Extended delays in responding to detainee requests for medical treatment;
• Repeated failures by medical staff to use language services to communicate with non-English speakers;
• Unlawful co-pay charges assessed by Hudson against people in ICE’s custody;
• Over-medication of detainees with mental health issues, resulting in everything from fatigue to memory lapse to coma-like states;
• Use of shackles when transported to outside hospitals, even for emergency situations;
• Lack of continuity of care for arriving detainees with chronic conditions;
• Failure to provide medication upon release;
• Unwarranted limits on access to necessary medical and mental health treatment, supplies and services;
• Delayed or denied care for serious conditions and diseases;
• Denial of necessary and timely care, or misdiagnoses, for detainees with serious conditions and diseases;
• Denial of medical records; and
• Lack of sanitary conditions, resulting in bacterial infections.

Specific examples were also provided:

• AM, a cancer survivor, was denied ongoing care. Although AM was provided with an outside hospital appointment, he never received the results of the visit or further check-ups after the hospital visit.

• BN, an HIV+ man who also has cancer, was not diagnosed with cancer for over two months. BN had abdominal pain and other symptoms, but the Hudson medical personnel claimed BN had hemorrhoids with no proper examination. After two months of excruciating pain andmultiple requests for medical attention, he was taken to an outside hospital where he was diagnosed with colon cancer.

• GW broke his leg and had surgery on his leg prior to being put into ICE custody. GW was ableto have a consultation with an outside doctor while at Hudson who said GW is in need of another surgery to “repair a broken internal fixation through the distal tibia and hypertrophicdegenerative changes of the medial malleolus,” among other issues in his leg. ICE has denied him physical therapy and this additional surgery because the “injury occurred prior to ICE custody.”

• FT, an HIV+ man, filed multiple requests for off-site specialty care, but was denied. FT ultimately was unable to participate in his court hearing due to shortness of breath, weakness,and inability to stand up to speak to the judge, forcing his immigration judge in court to call 911 so FT could be taken to the hospital. The hospital determined that he had a pacemaker, and the battery or pulse generator needed immediate replacement. It was replaced at the hospital,but FT has not received follow-up care.

• CP, who suffers from migraines, has been denied appropriate medical care and only receives Tylenol for the migraines, despite the fact there is preventative medication available for migraine sufferers.

• DR, a cancer survivor and diabetic patient, receives insufficient insulin, which has resulted in her rapid weight loss.

• ES suffers from extreme chronic headaches, dizziness and temporary losses of vision.Although he believes he is epileptic, he has not received any diagnostic tests at Hudson.

• HJ, an elderly woman, has lost much of her eyesight since she was detained; yet, she has received no eye and vision examinations, despite requests.

• In addition to these individual cases, approximately 90 percent of the people we work with a resuffering from a toenail fungus and/or bacterial infection that is turning the skin on their feet dark and brown with white spots. We believe this is due to the mold in the bathrooms and lack of appropriate disinfection/cleaning routines in the bathroom areas.

• In addition to these individual cases, multiple people in ICE’s custody at Hudson have told CIVIC that they have received bills for medical services, although Hudson assured First Friends during a recent tour of the facility in April that people in ICE’s custody are not charged for medical care. According to the results of an Open Public Record Act request CIVIC received on March 21, 2016, at least 18 people in ICE’s custody have submitted grievances to Hudson in 2014 and 2015 for unlawful co-pay or other medical charges.

I'm sure Obama will jump right on this in the last six months of his Presidency (right after he is done demagoguing Republicans for wanting to build a wall that Hillary Clinton voted numerous times for).