SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Members of Congress are responding to a Team 10 investigation that uncovered allegations the government is not providing adequate medical care to some U.S. citizens in its custody.
Two recently filed lawsuits allege that dozens of individuals’ medical needs were deliberately ignored by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents, and Americans were forced to undergo life-threatening and torturous detox in temporary holding cells at the border.
In a statement to 10News U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security wrote, “The allegations made in these lawsuits are extremely troubling. Anyone in CBP custody who is in medical distress should receive urgent medical care if they require it. Across the board, it’s clear that CBP has work to do to ensure safe and humane conditions for all detainees.”
San Diego area Congressman Scott Peters also responded saying, “Everyone in federal custody deserves access to basic care. Ignoring a detainee’s pleas for help runs counter to CBP’s own national policies, which say detainees are entitled to medical care if they report an illness or appear to need help. Officers at the border may be overwhelmed, but if CBP is going to detain people, they have a duty to provide proper medical care to the people in their custody.”
10News also heard from ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. A spokesperson wrote, "Unfortunately, horrible detention conditions at U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities, including inadequate medical care, is nothing new – though they are violations of the agency’s own internal standards for treatment of people in its custody. As a result of recent federal policy decisions, far more people are being unnecessarily held in CBP custody, for longer, under these deplorable conditions. These decisions are greatly exacerbating CBP’s longstanding failure to meet the basic humanitarian needs of the people it insists on detaining.”
When asked for a comment on the allegation in the lawsuits a spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection said the agency cannot comment on matters that are currently under litigation.