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CRCL Complaint Details How Family Detention Facility Endangers Incarcerated Mothers and Children

The American Immigration Council, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, partners in the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, formally lodged the latest in a series of complaints detailing the inhumane conditions to which mothers and children are subjected while detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC) in Dilley, Texas.

Tragically, this complaint documents many of the very same medical access problems that were brought to the attention of the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) by CARA on July 30, 2015. To date, the CARA project has received no meaningful response to any of the complaints submitted to CRCL and OIG on the issue of inadequate medical care or any other concerns. The affidavits provided by these mothers represent merely a sampling of the dire state of medical care at Dilley because, in some cases, mothers fear that lodging a formal complaint might negatively impact their immigration cases and therefore do not speak out publicly.

CARA urges an immediate investigation into these specific cases, as well as a broader investigation into the adequacy of the medical care provided at all three family detention facilities. These complaints add to the already overwhelming evidence that the detention of children and mothers is inherently inhumane and must end.

Individual Affidavits

  • Affidavit of "Alma"
    "While I waited, I witnessed a child that was almost convulsing with a fever. The women waiting were worried because his mother told me that this fever was over 100 degrees. She had already taken the child twice, and only a headache pill was administered."

  • Affidavit of "Ana"
    "[My son] became ill. He vomited several times. ... My son was briefly examined and found to have a fever of 103. We were given Tylenol and told to take it for three days."

  • Affidavit of "Brenda"
    "I finally saw the doctor, and I explained that I [had previously been] shot. ... The doctor did not give me any medication to alleviate the pain or advise me as to how to manage the pain when it became unbearable. When my stomach injuries flare up and the pain is intense, I am not able to take care of my daughter."

  • Affidavit of "Carolina"
    "[My daughter] was perfectly healthy before she was detained. Now she is suffering. She has lost weight because she is not eating properly. She has become very thin. The milk here seems to make her sick."

  • Affidavit of "Cristina"
    "Because I have not been [able to get a prescription for my required daily blood pressure] medication, I have been experiencing a number of adverse symptoms on my health. My symptoms are getting worse every day. I should not be without my medication for this long, and I am afraid for my health."

  • Affidavit of "Heidi"
    "My children were all perfectly healthy before arriving in the United States, but now two of my children are sick. [My daughter] has lost so much weight. ... Her ribs are visible and the pants that fit her when she arrived here are so loose that they fall down."

  • Affidavit of "Johanna"
    "The medical staff at STRC have provided no interventions of any type regarding [my son's] anemia, even though I made them plainly aware of his condition once we were transported to this detention center. ... He complains of pain in his head, his complexion is pale, his lips turn purple and he shakes from being cold."

  • Affidavit of "Josefina"
    "My daughter needs the glasses for school where she can't even see the computer screen. ... She has constant headaches. I worry for her having to use a computer screen and it hurting her eyes more."

  • Affidavit of "Leonora"
    "I was hoping they would give [my son] antibiotics and/or medication for his infection in his throat and for the vomiting and pain in his stomach, but we just got the same ibuprofen and Vick's, and were told to drink more water."

  • Affidavit of "Mariana"
    "The doctor told me that there was nothing that the medical unit could do about [my son's] hair loss because the problem requires a specialist that is not available at the Dilley detention center. Another doctor saw [my son] and told me that the problem seemed urgent and that I should obtain a specialist as soon as I am released."

  • Affidavit of "Mayra"
    "[W]hen [my daughter] was finally seen, the medics told us that she was "going to be fine" and told her to drink water. This was frustrating for me because I believed she was suffering from an ear infection. Water does not fix this."

  • Affidavit of "Melinda"
    "[The guard] laughed at me, saying "oh, an emergency," while laughing and shaking his head, and told me to go wait in the waiting room, then went to talk to the nurses. ... I continued to feel worse and worse. I could see him sitting with one of the guards, looking at me, and then talking to the guard and laughing."

  • Affidavit of "Sofia"
    "I told the doctor in detention about my previous diagnosis in Guatemala; that I had an infection and might have cancer. I also told her that I am still experiencing stomach pain. The doctor told me that they could not treat me here. The doctor in detention did not perform any exam on me."

  • Affidavit of "Suzanne"
    "[My daughter] was diagnosed with tachycardia, excessive fast heartbeat, when we lived in El Salvador. …The doctor informed me that she was going to refer my daughter to a cardiologist. I still have not seen the cardiologist. … my daughter still keeps getting sick. She keeps getting chest pains and her heartbeat starts beating fast."

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 15100605.