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Demanding an Investigation Into Horrifying Reports of ICE's Inhumane Treatment of Immigrants

Dear Friends,

This week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General received a horrifying whistleblower complaint about cruel and inhumane treatment of immigrants detained at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia. The report outlined multiple abuses of immigration women, including mass hysterectomies seemingly performed without the full, informed consent of the women. One woman reported knowing of five detained women who had hysterectomies over a three-month period. Other women reported receiving multiple different rationales for the surgery or having nurses yell at them for seeking more information before surgery. These horrifying allegations must be investigated in full and today, I led my colleagues in writing to the DHS Inspector General demanding such an investigation.

This whistleblower report echoes a long history of forced sterilization of women in this country—incarcerated women, disabled individuals, Indigenous women, Black women, and women of color have been targeted throughout history for sterilization without their full, informed consent. It also reflects the Trump-Pence Administration’s efforts to control the lives and bodies of women—in particular, immigrant women—in this country. In 2017, reports surfaced of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials blocking young women in their custody from accessing reproductive health care, including barring women from leaving shelters to access abortion, even when courts ordered HHS to release them; flying high-ranking officials to shelters to personally pressure and coerce young women not to have abortions; and maintaining spreadsheets of detained girl’s menstrual cycles to track pregnancies.

With these new reports, it is clear this Administration believes they alone have the right to determine who in this country must remain pregnant and who must never have a child again. They are obsessed not with stopping abortion but with controlling women’s lives. I will continue to fight to expose these cruel, inhumane practices and to protect the constitutional right of every woman in this country to make her own health and reproductive decisions.  


Congressman Jerrold Nadler
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