Is this really the kind of country we want to live in?

Regardless of where you stand on the immigration issue, there ought to be one thing on which we all agree: It is not okay for detainees to die in custody because of a lack of needed healthcare or for individuals to be taken into custody only to disappear into the system, their location unable to be determined.

Earlier this week, the New York Times exposed yet another horrendous story about an immigrant dying while in I.C.E custody:

In April, Mr. Ng began complaining of excruciating back pain. By mid-July, he could no longer walk or stand. And last Wednesday, two days after his 34th birthday, he died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a Rhode Island hospital, his spine fractured and his body riddled with cancer that had gone undiagnosed and untreated for months.

The details of the case are stunning, to say the least. Perhaps it would be easier to understand if it could be explained as an isolated incident, but frankly, it isn't an isolated incident. Mr. Ng's death is just one of a series of recent cases that have drawn Congressional scrutiny around complaints of inadequate medical care, human rights violations and a lack of oversight in immigration detention.

Moreover, this isn't a problem that will be solved through comprehensive immigration reform alone. Mr. Ng was denied access to legal counsel on several occasions and denied access to independent hearings.

Does anyone else find it terrifying that in 21st Century America we throw people into detention facilities, deny them access to legal counsel, refuse to grant independent hearings and leave their medical needs to be determined by detention administrators?

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