In a whistleblower complaint filed on September 14, 2020, an Irwin County (GA) Detention Center (ICDC) nurse provided a horrific account of a doctor performing “mass hysterectomies” on women detained at ICDC without their informed consent, prompting 173 members of Congress to demand an Inspector General investigation into possible forced sterilization practices at the facility. Two days later, Rep. Pramila Jayapal released “new details” about “forced unnecessary medical procedures—including hysterectomies—being performed on at least 17 immigrant women” at ICDC. Press reports have linked these claims to Dr. Mahendra Amin, an OB-GYN based in Douglas, Georgia.
These reports raise grave concerns about violations of bodily autonomy and reproductive rights of people detained in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. They also harken back to the shameful history of forced sterilization in the United States, particularly the sterilization of people of color and incarcerated people. The requested records would shed light on these and other issues of compelling public concern.
CREW has requested all records from ICE from January 1, 2017 to the present reflecting any complaints that any immigrant detained at ICDC was subjected to a medical procedure involuntarily or under any circumstances where the immigrant did not fully comprehend the nature of the procedure prior to it being performed. This request seeks records within several federal, state, and contractor databases, including the Office of Detention Oversight (ODO), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), ERO Atlanta Field Office and Atlanta Field Office Director and Detention Monitoring Reports prepared by Nakamoto Group, Inc. and ODO.
Additionally, CREW has requested all records relating to Dr. Mahendra Amin, including communications between him and ICE.
This wouldn’t be the first time that ICE has been linked to grave human rights abuses, attempted to cover its tracks, and faced zero accountability. Led by illegally appointed Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, the agency has reportedly lost records connecting detained immigrant children to their parents, attempted to destroy records on alarming abuses that detainees have reported, and shown no attempts to fix inhumane conditions of ICE facilities despite official reports detailing life threatening conditions. In spite of public outrage towards conditions of ICE facilities, taxpayer dollars continue to fund an agency that appears to be continuing to violate the bodily autonomy of detainees with no accountability, this time in the form of forced sterilization of detained women. At the very least, the public needs to know all players and processes complicit in these horrifying and apparently non-consensual procedures.