Organizations Call for Immediate Investigation Into Reports of Unnecessary Procedures and Inadequate Care in ICE Facility

September 15, 2020

Washington—The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council are calling on Congress to initiate an immediate and thorough investigation into conditions and medical care at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers following the disturbing news reports yesterday about the lack of COVID-19 protections and inadequate medical care, including a report that a number of women detained at the Irwin detention center in Ocilla, Georgia were unnecessarily subject to hysterectomies.

Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director at AILA, noted, “AILA and the Council, through our Immigration Justice Campaign, have documented egregious medical negligence within ICE facilities in recent years including the detention of infants under the age of 1, the detention of pregnant women, and lack of access to specialists. In May, we filed a civil rights complaint documenting numerous unsanitary and unsafe conditions in 11 ICE facilities as well as gross failures to protect individuals in custody during the COVID-19 pandemic. We call on Congress to investigate these claims immediately. If after a full investigation, the allegations prove to be true, all measures must be taken to seek justice for the victims and hold DHS leadership fully accountable."

Beth Werlin, Executive Director at the American Immigration Council, added, “These allegations are perhaps the clearest examples to date of the horrors of our immigration detention system—a system that perpetuates racial violence and undermines access to justice, while providing billions of dollars in profit annually to private prison companies. DHS oversight bodies and Congress must launch full investigations into these claims immediately and those responsible must be held accountable. We, as a country, must not turn a blind eye to the impact that our immigration detention system has on individual lives. It is time to find a new way forward.”


For more information, contact:

Maria Frausto at [email protected] or 202-507-7526; or Tessa Wiseman at [email protected] or 202-507-7661.

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
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