FILE PHOTO: Mark Morgan, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is seen before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to examine Customs and Border Protection, focusing on evolving challenges facing the agency, in Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, in Washington, U.S. June 25, 2020. Tom Williams/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo


In a whistleblower complaint, a nurse who worked at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Ga., accused the facility of “jarring medical neglect.” The accusations included a refusal to test detained immigrants for COVID-19, the shredding of medical requests, fabricating medical records, and red flags raised in regard to the rate of hysterectomies. The facility is run by LaSalle Corrections, a private company that operates similar facilities in three other states.

Dawn Wooten, the whistleblower who filed the complaint, was represented by Project South, Georgia Detention Watch, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights and the South Georgia Immigrant Support Network. The complaint included multiple statements from detainees.

In a statement provided to the Associated Press, Immigration and Customs Enforcement stated that it takes all allegations seriously. “That said, in general, anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the appropriate skepticism they deserve.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, “If true, the appalling conditions described in the whistleblower complaint – including allegations of mass hysterectomies being performed on vulnerable immigrant women – are a staggering abuse of human rights.” 173 members of Congress urged the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General Joseph Cuffari to immediately open an investigation into Wooten’s allegations. They requested an update on the investigation’s status by Sept. 25.


Whistleblower Complaint Alleges an ICE Detention Center Is Performing Mass Hysterectomies Like “An Experimental Concentration Camp” – Truthout – 9/15/2020
A number of critics spoke out after the allegations were made public, calling for formal investigations of ICDC and ICE, with some remarking it was further evidence that ICE deserved to be abolished. “Today’s immigration news should be a rough reminder, to those who still need it, that we need to abolish ICE,” Jonathan Jayes-Green, vice president of programs at Marguerite Casey Foundation, said regarding the situation. “This amoral, cruel and rotten system cannot be reformed.”

Whistleblower Nurse Alleges Disturbing Number of Hysterectomies at ICE Detention Facility – Reason – 9/15/2020
If true, the allegations about the facility would not be without precedent. Earlier this year, Reason reported on medical neglect at FCI Aliceville, a federal women’s prison in Alabama. One formerly incarcerated woman said officials and doctors tried to pressure her into having her one remaining ovary removed. After she refused, she said she was retaliated against by staff.

AOC says U.S. ‘must atone’ for rights violations after whistleblower’s ICE hysterectomy claims – Newsweek – 9/15/2020
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said the U.S. must “atone” for human rights violations against immigrants, in response to a whistleblower’s abuse allegations over the rate of hysterectomies and a refusal of COVID-19 testing at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility.

DHS investigates forced sterilization, hysterectomy allegations of illegal immigrants – Fox News – 9/17/2020
The Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog launched an investigation into a whistleblower complaint alleging that an outside doctor performed “mass hysterectomies” on immigrant women held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody at a Georgia detention facility.


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