Deportation of Witnesses of Doctor Abuse in Border Detention Centers

December 1, 2020

Immigration and deportation can be very complex. When cases which involve allegations of abuse at federal detention centers surface, matters can become even more complicated. The United States legal system can be hard for anyone to navigate. It can be more challenging for immigrants from other countries, especially those who are undocumented. Language barriers can make it difficult to communicate and understand individual rights. Beyond that, undocumented immigrants may have less access to legal resources, especially if they are being held in detention centers.

Allegations of Abuse in Detention Centers

Abuse allegations in U.S detention centers have been on the rise in recent years, reaching new peaks in 2020. These reports come from both government facilities and private centers. The nature of alleged abuse in these facilities include neglect, psychological abuse, and physical assault. One of the issues to take center stage in the latter part of 2020 is also one of the most troubling, both legally and in terms of human rights. There have been multiple allegations of doctor abuse against immigrant women detained in the U.S. These allegations have become the subject of investigation, as well as a popular topic of news headlines, but there are still challenges ahead in addressing these cases.

What is Doctor Abuse?

Doctor abuse can take many forms, but any variety is illegal and very serious. Even though any form of abuse or exploitation of patients by medical staff is banned by all measure of legal and medical ethics, the issue still comes up when patients feel that a physician abused their position. Doctors are held in high regard and hold a certain amount of power that comes with their job title. They are in a position of trust and misusing their real or perceived authority violates this trust and harms patients. The range of abusive behaviors by physicians can include doctors stepping outside their scope of practice to exert control, exploiting patients, deliberately providing poor care, or causing physical, mental, or emotional harm to their patients.

Doctor Abuse of Migrant Women in Detention Centers

Doctor abuse allegations recently began emerging from U.S detention centers, which involve medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures. Forced medical procedures are in direct opposition to legal and ethical concepts of medical consent. At least 19 female prisoners and one nurse came forward with stories of such abuse at a detention center in Georgia. This facility is privately run and houses U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees. The complaints involve a doctor allegedly performing overly aggressive or completely unnecessary gynecological procedures on detained female patients. According to these reports, the physician did not gain proper approval and consent from the patients. Similar cases have continued to emerge and have grown since 2018.

Proving Doctor Abuse in Detention Centers

Proving medical abuse in any setting can be challenging. A medical setting presents additional obstacles, but there are also some advantages for victims in pursuing this type of case. In any sort of abuse case, proof is paramount. Some victims will choose not to move forward with an abuse case because they do not think they can prove their story, even though it is true.

Physicians typically have significant legal resources and protections, which may be intimidating for some victims. However, the nature of medical documentation means that if a patient consented to a procedure, there should be a record. Failure to prove consent can help the victim’s case. Matters become more complex when dealing with a medical unit within a detention facility. Security measures and separation from the general public allow for more secrecy and potentially more abuse of power. Victims often do not report abuse out of fear of retaliation. This fear may be stronger for individuals who are in a culture different from their own. Immigrants, especially those without documentation, often fear a response from ICE if they speak out.

Deportation of Witnesses

One significant challenge for immigrants in these situations is the looming threat of deportation. A recent investigation showed six women who alleged doctor abuse at the detention center were deported after presenting their allegations. Additionally, multiple other women being held at the detention center are at risk for imminent deportation. The alleged victims argue that ICE is deporting women to silence them directly interfering with pending legal action. One woman said that she had a hold placed on her deportation, but it was removed just hours after she spoke to investigators. Another was told to sign deportation paperwork after being transported to an airport. She was only returned to the detention facility when her lawyers filed a federal lawsuit. In cases like these, a knowledgeable deportation lawyer can help victims find justice.

Philadelphia Deportation Lawyers at the MC Law Group, LLC Provide Resources to Victims of Abuse

Your country of origin should not determine your rights as a human. At the MC Law Group, LLC, our knowledgeable Philadelphia deportation lawyers are here to make sure your voice is heard. For a free consultation, call us at215-496-0690 or complete our online form. Located in Philadelphia, we work with clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.