Andrea Young, ACLU of Georgia executive director.

By Katheryn Tucker | Daily Report | September 21, 2020

Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., called late Friday for closing the Georgia immigration detention facility accused in a federal whistleblower complaint last week of forcing hysterectomies and other sterilization procedures on women being held there.

The whistleblower complaint was filed by a nurse who worked at Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. She alleged that women being held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention had hysterectomies and other procedures that would make them sterile forced on them, to the point that the accused doctor was called “the uterus collector.” The complaint was filed by attorneys with Project South: Institute for Elimination of Poverty and Genocide. The 27-page document detailed unsanitary, unsafe and inhumane conditions and failure to respond to health concerns about and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The recent allegations by the independent contracted employee raise some very serious concerns that deserve to be investigated quickly and thoroughly,” Tony H. Pham, a senior official performing the duties of ICE director, said in a statement. “ICE welcomes the efforts of both the Office of Inspector General as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s parallel review. As a former prosecutor, individuals found to have violated our policies and procedures should be held accountable. If there is any truth to these allegations, it is my commitment to make the corrections necessary to ensure we continue to prioritize the health, welfare and safety of ICE detainees.”

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