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Legislation Could Improve Medical Care for Detained Immigrants in Otay Mesa

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

Legislation in Congress could improve the medical care of immigrants detained in facilities like the one near Otay Mesa. Jodi Breisler reports from Washington.

Right now nurses in Washington must approve specialized medical care for immigrants in detention facilities. Some Congress members say these officials deny critical treatment due to overly restrictive policies. American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Tom Jawetz says this is harming immigrants detained in Southern California.

Jawetz: At the Otay Mesa facility, detainees have been routinely subjected to long treatment delays, denied necessary medications and refused! specialty care.

The ACLU has sued the Otay Mesa facility. Jawetz supports new legislation requiring treatment to be based on recommendations by medical personnel who have examined the patient. Immigration Chief Julie Meyers has stated funding for immigrant health care has risen. The first hearing on the legislation will be early next month.

From Capitol News Connection in Washington, I'm Jodi Breisler FOR KPBS News.

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