Rep. Johnson Conducts Oversight Visit of Irwin Detention Center in South Georgia
ATLANTA, GA – Today, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04), chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, participated in a Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and House Judiciary Committee oversight visit to investigate Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, where multiple immigrant women have been subjected to alleged hysterectomies and other medical procedures performed without their consent.
The Congressional Delegation also assessed conditions related to the spread of COVID-19. With more than 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the last several months among detained individuals, the virus poses a greater risk of further contagion among the vulnerable immigrants detained there.
“Private, for-profit company LaSalle Corrections and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) make a living by feasting on the misery of the detainees,” said Johnson. “You have inmates cooking and cleaning the facility. And when booked into the facility they are not even issued masks. Many received their first mask only yesterday, just in time for our visit. Others were wearing the same masks that they were wearing when they were booked into the facility months ago.”
“We spoke with number of women, including one who felt pressured to agree to a gynecological surgical procedure that she was not convinced was necessary. When she refused the procedure, the doctor ordered mental health evaluation. Being referred to mental health for not wanting a surgical procedure that wasn’t explained to her is completely unacceptable. Another woman told us she was subject to invasive procedures without consent and then was not given any follow-up appointments.”
The delegation included: Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragan (CA-44), 2nd Vice Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-16), Whip of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-50); Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34); Congressman Lou Correa (CA-46); Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (TX-29); Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18); Congressman Rep. Raul Ruiz (CA-36) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-7).