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A whistleblower who previously worked at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Georgia has alleged there has been a high rate of hysterectomies and alleged medical neglect in a complaint filed to the Department of Homeland Security inspector general.
The complaint was filed by a nurse identified as Dawn Wooten and rebuked the practices and conditions at the private Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia.
Top congressional Democrats are calling for a federal investigation into the complaint.
“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,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“This profoundly disturbing situation recalls some of the darkest moments of our nation’s history, from the exploitation of Henrietta Lacks, to the horror of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, to the forced sterilizations of Black women that Fannie Lou Hamer and so many others underwent and fought,” the Speaker added.
Wooten is represented by the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower protection organization, and Project South, a social justice advocacy group.
“For years, advocates in Georgia have raised red flags about the human rights violations occurring inside the Irwin County Detention Center,” Priyanka Bhatt, a staff attorney at Project South, said in a statement. “Ms. Wooten’s whistleblowing disclosures confirm what detained immigrants have been reporting for years: gross disregard for health and safety standards, lack of medical care, and unsanitary living conditions at Irwin.”
A spokesperson for ICE said in a statement that the agency “does not comment on matters presented to the Office of the Inspector General.
“ICE takes all allegations seriously and defers to the OIG regarding any potential investigation and/or results. That said, in general, anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the appropriate skepticism they deserve.”