Human Rights Perspective

Under international human rights law, medical deportation violates a series of human rights, including: the right to a fair trial and due process; the right to life, liberty and personal security; the right to protection of the family; and the right to preservation of health and well-being. By largely allowing the practice of medical deportation to go unnoticed and unpunished, the United States is violating its duty to prevent, investigate, and punish violations of human rights. Even though medical deportation is a practice undertaken by hospitals, the U.S. government is responsible for the violation under international treaty law because it has failed to fulfill its duties.

NYLPI’s Health Justice program joined the Seton Hall University School of Law in 2010 in submitting a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the subject of medical repatriations of undocumented immigrants by hospitals.  The report is a stakeholder shadow report submitted to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United States. In the spirit of “naming and shaming,” the report aims to bring international scrutiny to the abhorrent practice of international patient dumping by private and public hospitals.

In addition, NYLPI along with 30 other organizations and 57 individuals signed on to a UPR report on Racial Health Disparities and Discrimination. Under the section entitled “Racial Disparities in Health System Access and Quality of Care,” bullet point 30 explains the issue of Medical Deportation. The section is followed by a series of Recommendations to remove racial disparities in health care in the United States.

Students in the Immigrants’ Rights/International Human Rights Clinic have  advocated before the IACHR for a full investigation into the practice of forced or coerced medical repatriations.


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