Groups File FOIA Request to Demand Transparency and Accountability for Medical Abuse of People at ICE Detention Facilities
Project South and NIPNLG Seek Records on Non-Consensual Hysterectomies and Other Invasive Medical Procedures
For Immediate Release
September 22, 2020
Azadeh Shahshahani, email@example.com, 404-574-0851
Cristina Velez, firstname.lastname@example.org, 347-943-1164
Khaled Alrabe, email@example.com, 510-689-3994
Washington, DC – Advocacy groups filed FOIA requests yesterday seeking records and information regarding egregious medical abuse of persons detained at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Ocilla, Georgia, a private detention center run by LaSalle Corrections that houses immigrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The groups seek to uncover the extent of these abuses, both at ICDC and at other ICE detention facilities.
“Given what we have learned about the systematic violence against immigrants’ bodies at ICDC, we need ICE to come clean about what is happening at facilities nationwide,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, Legal & Advocacy Director at Project South. “Immigrants cannot have their bodily integrity at the mercy of ICE and the private prisons corporations the agency contracts with.”
The shocking revelations about non-consensual medical procedures come as part of a broader complaint about widespread neglect and poor medical care at Irwin filed by Project South and other groups, and concerns about adequate medical care at ICE facilities nationwide. The requests seek to uncover the true nature and extent of non-consensual gynecological procedures conducted on persons in ICE custody that lead to sterilization or that have the effect of diminishing fertility or otherwise damage immigrants’ bodies.
“We call upon ICE to reveal the extent of these practices that are reminiscent of shameful episodes in our own nation’s history and the kind of persecution our asylum laws are designed to protect immigrants against.”
Sr. Staff Attorney, NIPNLG
“The deeply upsetting reports of these involuntary procedures are representative of the ongoing harm to immigrants in detention nationwide,” said National Immigration Project senior staff attorney Cristina Velez. “We call upon ICE to reveal the extent of these practices that are reminiscent of shameful episodes in our own nation’s history and the kind of persecution our asylum laws are designed to protect immigrants against.”
The FOIA requests seek records related to gynecological procedures conducted on persons in ICE custody, including decision-making protocols, informed consent protocols, billing and authorization records, and grievances or complaints related to these procedures performed on immigrants in ICE custody.
Project South is a Southern-based leadership development organization that creates spaces for movement building. We work with communities pushed forward by the struggle – to strengthen leadership and to provide popular political and economic education for personal and social transformation. We build relationships with organizations and networks across the US and global South to inform our local work and to engage in bottom-up movement building for social and economic justice.
The National Immigration Project is a national membership organization of lawyers, law students, legal workers, advocates, and jailhouse lawyers working to defend and extend the rights of all noncitizens in the United States, regardless of immigration status. We pursue all forms of legal advocacy on behalf of immigrants and provide technical assistance and support to legal practitioners, community-based immigrant organizations, and advocates seeking and working to advance the rights of noncitizens.