Nearly 300,000 men, women and children are taken each year into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Most of these immigrant detainees have no criminal history, yet they are placed in detention facilities throughout the country and become vulnerable to a system warped by scandal, abuse and neglect.
Ng. v. Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation
In December 2012, Motley Rice human rights attorneys resolved a wrongful death suit that alleged 34-year-old Hiu Lui (Jason) Ng, a Chinese immigration detainee, was subjected to extreme physical and mental abuse while in custody at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, Rhode Island.
Despite his repeated complaints of excruciating pain, Ng was only first diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and a broken spine less than a week before he died in August 2008. Throughout his confinement, guards and medical personnel at Wyatt accused Ng of faking his illness, and he was routinely denied use of a wheelchair.
Three years after Motley Rice brought suit against the facility on behalf of Mr. Ng’s family, the detention facility and others reached an agreement that, among other terms, involved a confidential multi-million dollar settlement to compensate Mr. Ng’s widow and children.
The human rights abuse case of Hiu Lui Ng serves as an example to all of how the court system can and does work. The settlement, while it can never change what happened, helped the family in a small way to cope with the tragedy and sent the loud, clear message that every person detained by the government has the right to be treated humanely.