发信人: eda (Lucy~~幸福进行时), 信区: Working
标 题: A Chinese Engineer Who Died in the Immigration Detention Ce
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Wed Dec 3 00:32:57 2008), 转信
It is such a sad story.................
August 17, 2008
Mr. Ng's Death
This country's harsh regime of immigration enforcement is racked with troubl
es from top to bottom, from the federal raids recklessly sweeping thousands
of harmless immigrants into custody to the scandal-riddled detention system
that abuses and neglects them once they get there.
Last week, The Times's Nina Bernstein reported on another shameful case of s
omeone entering immigration detention, getting sick, and dying. This time it
was Hiu Lui Ng, a computer engineer from China. He paid the ultimate price
for overstaying a visa, and getting lost in a sprawling system that some hav
e likened to a gulag.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement will not comment because of a continuing
investigation. But court affidavits tell a story of shocking neglect:
Although he complained of excruciating back pain for months, and grew ever f
railer in custody, officials at the Rhode Island detention center where he w
as being held denied Mr. Ng an independent medical evaluation and even a whe
elchair. At one point, according to the affidavits, he was shackled and take
n in an ambulance for a two-hour drive to Hartford, where an immigration off
icer pressured him to stop appealing his case and accept deportation.
When lawyers finally persuaded a judge to insist on suitable medical treatme
nt for Mr. Ng, the long-deferred diagnosis was dire. Prison officials had sa
id it was all an act. It was terminal cancer - and a broken spine. Mr. Ng wa
s taken to the hospital, and died five days later.
One must wonder why Mr. Ng was in prison at all. He was no dangerous crimina
l. He entered the country legally but overstayed a visa years ago. His asylu
m plea was rejected, and he missed a court date when the order was sent to t
he wrong address. In the ensuing years, he went to college, married, and fat
hered two sons.
His wife, a naturalized citizen, petitioned to get him legal residency, but
at his green-card interview last summer, he was seized.
To ensure that other detainees do not meet Mr. Ng's awful fate, Congress sho
uld pass the Detainee Basic Medical Care Act, sponsored by Senator Robert Me
nendez, Democrat of New Jersey, and Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of
California. It would impose mandatory health care standards on the detention
system, a rapidly growing and deeply flawed ad-hoc network of local, state,
federal and privately run lockups.
Immigration officials keep insisting that detention care is adequate and get
ting better. But it will take far more than promises of more audits to build
confidence in a system that allows people to suffer so grievously.
Immigrant advocates have long complained about the lack of due process for p
eople who run afoul of the country's convoluted immigration laws. But access
to decent medical care is an even starker problem.
While reasonable minds can differ on some aspects of the immigration debate,
protecting the health of detainees is not one of them. Allowing sick people
to suffer and die in custody without adequate treatment is unacceptable and
violates the most fundamental standards of American law and decency. The sy
stem must be fixed.
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