Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 15, 2020 / 08:32 am
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has declined to comment on allegations that hysterectomies were performed on detained immigrant women without their full consent. A complaint was filed with the Office of the Inspector General last week, alleging medical neglect at a detention center in Georgia.
After an initial report from The Intercept, news outlet Law & Crime reported on Monday that a whistleblower complaint was filed Sept. 8 with the OIG at the Department of Homeland Security, including testimony from immigrants at the ICE detention center in Georgia and a nurse at the center. The complaint alleges that immigrant women there underwent hysterectomies at an extraordinarily high rate.
One detainee likened the conditions to “an experimental concentration camp.” Women were reported to be “confused” as to the procedure they had received.
In response to questions from CNA, on Monday night ICE said that it “does not comment on matters presented to the Office of the Inspector General.”
ICE added that “in general, anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the appropriate skepticism they deserve.”
The whistleblower complaint was filed on behalf of nurse Dawn Wooten at Irwin County Detention Center, the site of an ICE detention center operated by LaSalle Corrections, a private prison company. Several organizations filed the complaint—the activist group Project South, Georgia Detention Watch, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, and SouthGeorgia Immigrant Support Network.
They alleged “jarring medical neglect” of immigrants at the center, including a high rate of hysterectomies performed on immigrant women—at times without their full consent.
The whistleblower, nurse Dawn Wooten, said in the report that “Hispanics are treated the worst in the facility. I mean literally. They can’t speak English. Even though they [ICDC] have the language line there, if they’re trying to get understanding of their health it’s like take these pills and get the hell on…[Hispanics] hurt and suffer through it.”