updated 3/17/2009 1:45:14 PM ET 2009-03-17T17:45:14

Two advocacy groups say U.S. authorities routinely delay, deny or botch medical care for immigrants in detention.

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Human Rights Watch and the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center released separate reports Tuesday on health care in immigration custody.

Advocates say the problems stem from unskilled or indifferent staff, overcrowding, bureaucratic red tape, language barriers and limited services.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, says the agency provides primary health care along with dental, chronic and mental health care.

Human Rights Watch says women particularly suffer while detained by ICE. Women said they had been shackled while pregnant, missed appointments for mammograms and Pap smears or failed to receive prenatal care while in immigration custody.

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