Eds. Note: This week's guest blogger is Adam Serwer. Adam is a graduate student at Columbia University's school of journalism. He blogs at Too Sense and Jack and Jill Politics under the pseudonym dnA.
The first part of Dana Priest and Amy Goldstein's harrowing report on the health care conditions inside immigrant detention centers (prisons) for the WaPo is another example of the Bush Administration's extraordinary talent for mismanagement. Reading the article you get the impression that, to the administration, there's little difference between "suspected terrorists" and immigrants who are seeking work or asylum (I suppose to the talk radio set, there is no difference). They're treated as equally undeserving of rights or basic medical care, objects to be shifted around indefinitely, like so many boxes in a warehouse.
It doesn't help that both ICE and the DIHS (Division of Immigration Health Services) are headed by political cronies Julie Myers and LaMont W. Flanagan respectively. The article notes that Flanagan has a history of corruption, which prevented D.C. from hiring him for a juvenile justice position (wow). It doesn't note that Myers, head of ICE, is niece to General Richard Myers, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and married to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff's chief of staff.
The piece is filled with stories like that of Joseph Dantica, who was fleeing violence in Haiti and sought asylum in the U.S. While his application for asylum was pending, he was detained at the Krome facility in Miami, (yes, these days we throw asylum seekers in prison) where his heart medication was taken from him. Dantica died of heart failure at a local hospital, a day or two after health care officials at the facility "determined" he was "faking" his symptoms. He was shackled to his bed.
ICE head Myers recently came under fire for trying to cover up the fact that an employee dressed up in blackface with a dreadlock wig at an office Halloween party and won that year's costume contest.
The employee said he was dressed as "an escaped detainee" from Miami's Krome detention facility.