Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tales from the Land of the Free

Hiu Lui Ng died in agony last Wednesday, under guard in a Rhode Island hospital. He had terminal cancer, which had spread to his bones, liver and lungs. He had a fractured spine. His captors, working for the Department of Homeland Security, claimed for months that he had been faking it.

Hiu entered the country at the age of 17 and overstayed his visitor's visa.
He applied for political asylum and obtained a work permit. He became a computer engineer, married, had two children and a job at the Empire State Building.

Eventually the political asylum application was denied. In 2001, a notice ordering him to appear in immigration court was sent to the wrong address. When he didn't show up, he was ordered deported. A few years later, knowing nothing of this, he attended what he thought was an interview to obtain his green card, and was promptly seized and jailed.

Despite severe and increasing back pain, he was given a top bunk, climbing in and out of which caused him even more pain. He lost weight, and looked, his relatives said, like a jaundiced old man. He became so weak that he couldn't stand in line to receive painkillers, and so was given none. "Stop faking," said medical officials at the jail.

A jail official, one "Officer Smith," then telephoned the family in Ng's presence, offering to "release him to the streets" if he would drop his legal appeals. He would not be permitted an examination by an outside doctor, nor would he be provided with a wheelchair. Finally, on application by his traumatized family, a judge ordered that Hiu be given a long-overdue MRI. His true condition was quickly revealed, just a short time before he passed away. His family members were unable to visit him for three days until the warden granted them permission, hours before his death.

This wasn't the first such case.

Salvadoran Francisco Castaneda, 36, was repeatedly denied a biopsy on a painful penile lesion: his cancer went undiagnosed, and he died. A judge later found that his treatment by prison authorities went "beyond cruel and unusual." In May, Guinean Boubacar Bah, 52, suffered a skull fracture and brain hemorrhaging in custody: he was left in an isolation cell for 13 hours to die.

Homeland Security on the job, defending the Republic in the never-ending War on Terra. Who gives a damn about a few foreigners killed by its malign neglect?

h/t Canadian Cynic.

No comments: