Congress Investigates ICE Unauthorized Detainee Hysterectomies
After a complaint by a whistleblower, Congress has called for an investigation into whether federal immigration detainees underwent gynecological surgeries — including full hysterectomies – without their knowledge or consent. Immigration attorneys are interviewing detainees at a detention center run by private prison company LaSalle Corrections and overseen by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Georgia to try and uncover the full extent of the procedures performed since 2018.
Congress has demanded that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Inspector General office to open “an immediate investigation” into the allegations by a former nurse at the facility who filed a complaint about abuse and medical neglect of at least 17 or 18 female immigration detainees. Immigration attorneys in Georgia are contacting colleagues across the country to determine if there is a similar pattern of medical abuse outside of Georgia. Attorneys say the hysterectomies and other medical procedures were unwanted, unnecessary and that the women were not fully advised of the procedures and their impact, and were unable to give informed consent for the procedures.
Immigration advocates and members of Congress alleged that the federal government’s increasing use of private, for-profit prison companies and local jails to house civil immigration detainees has led to an increase in detainee abuse and a decrease in respect for their civil and human rights. Calling it “systematic sterilization by ICE,” includes allegations that the doctor who performed the procedures in Georgia submitted fraudulent claims to Medicaid and Medicare.
On Wednesday, September 17, 173 members of Congress urged DHS to open a separate investigation into the allegations and report back to Congress no later than September 25.
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