Many Florida residents have emigrated from other countries. Some traveled alone, others with family members. Some went through extensive application processes, others fled situations of violence, poverty or persecution and sought asylum when they reached a U.S. border. Because of current U.S. immigration law, many (if not most) people in the latter group are placed in detention facilities while their cases are adjudicated.
If an immigrant traveled to the United States with his or her loved ones, entering detention might mean being separated from them for a long time. A group of doctors who recently participated in a public protest say this and other detention issues can have adverse effects on immigrants’ mental and physical health. The physicians have adamantly decried current U.S. immigration policies.
The doctors say that policy reformation is not enough to resolve the serious problems that exist today due to immigration detention centers throughout the nation. They say the only moral thing to do is to shut facilities down when there have been reports of substandard, even inhumane conditions inside. Sadly, at least 30 immigrants have died, several of whom were children, in the past year.
Immigrant advocates like the three doctors who joined the protest say such deaths are often preventable and have been caused by lack of proper medical care, inedible food, lack of running water and other negligence. These particular doctors have themselves provided medical care to asylum seekers in the United States. They say many immigrants, especially pregnant women and children, are at great risk for illness and injury when forced to sleep in overcrowded rooms without sufficient heat, sleeping in bathrooms or on dirty floors and lacking proper nutrition, as well as hygiene supplies. Anyone in Florida currently navigating the asylum process under U.S. immigration law who has run into legal problems may seek consultation with an experienced immigration law attorney for support.