Harlem Rep. Espaillat And Others Lead Investigation Into Disturbing Medical Procedures At ICE Facilities

Today, Harlem Representative Adriano Espaillat, Representative Veronica Escobar, and Representative Raul Ruiz co-led a letter to the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari.

The letter which was signed by 33 members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and calls for an immediate investigation into recent allegations that medical professionals at an ICE facility in Georgia conducted serious medical procedures on sometimes unwitting detained migrants, including an abundance of hysterectomies on migrant women.

“The allegations detailed in this recent complaint by a whistleblower, who is an experienced medical professional, are credible and illustrate an environment of evil that is familiar to history,”

“The allegations detailed in this recent complaint by a whistleblower, who is an experienced medical professional, are credible and illustrate an environment of evil that is familiar to history,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “It is as if ICE and the Trump Administration decided to import their twisted version of China’s inhumane ‘One Child Policy,’ but targeted at immigrants as a crude form of population control.”

Rep. Espaillat continued, “This is not what we stand for, and we are better than this as a country. Though our immigration system has never been above criticism, our nation has proven it can warmly welcome immigrants. But under this administration, we have deviated from the redeeming tenets, requisite oversight, and sense of humanity that have both positively informed our immigration processes and made us a world leader on human rights. This report is deeply troubling and if proven true, the allegations against ICE in this complaint will forever stain the soul of our nation – one that we can only hope to cleanse with transparency, reform and, if appropriate, criminal charges.”

“We need an emergency investigation by the DHS Inspector General that includes thorough on-the-ground inspections and does not rely on statements from ICE agents and private contractors. At what point were Trump administration officials aware of any coerced procedures, and if so, what actions did they take, if any, to stop this abuse? We’re demanding answers and accountability.”

“If true, this complaint is part of a larger pattern of reproductive injustices conducted by ICE officials, such as forcing women to give birth standing up, shackling pregnant women, and neglecting medical care. These horrors must not remain hidden — the whistleblower demonstrated tremendous courage by speaking out and I hope more people will say something if they’ve seen something wrong,” said Chairman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “We need an emergency investigation by the DHS Inspector General that includes thorough on-the-ground inspections and does not rely on statements from ICE agents and private contractors. At what point were Trump administration officials aware of any coerced procedures, and if so, what actions did they take, if any, to stop this abuse? We’re demanding answers and accountability.”

“These shocking allegations described by a medical professional shed light on a new kind of horror at the hands of ICE,”

“These shocking allegations described by a medical professional shed light on a new kind of horror at the hands of ICE,” said Rep. Veronica Escobar (TX-16). “The high rate of forced hysterectomies and reported medical neglect represent unconscionable inhumanity and are atrocities none of us ever thought would be possible in America in modern times. The Department of Homeland Security and ICE must provide Congress all information related to this complaint and immediately start a comprehensive and transparent investigation. If these allegations are proven true, this is an incredible violation of human rights and there must be accountability for these crimes against humanity.”

“Intentionally removing a woman’s uterus without informed consent or without indication is criminal and a human rights violation. This should never happen in the United States or anywhere. That is why I am calling for an immediate, thorough investigation.” — Rep. Raul Ruiz, MD, CHC Health Task Force Chair.

In the letter the members demanded that the Department of Homeland Security and ICE provide the Congress all information related to the recent whistleblower complaint. Also, they urge the agency’s Inspector General to undertake a thorough investigation of the complaint and the conduct alleged within it. Specifically, the letter requests that the OIG also investigate whether this an isolated case or if this practice is implemented in other detention facilities, and asks that OIG review when ICE and LaSalle contractors became aware of these practices, how they became aware, and what actions, if any, they took.

First elected to Congress in 2016, Rep. Adriano Espaillat is serving his second term in Congress where he serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the House Small Business Committee. He serves as a Senior Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) where he also serves in a leadership role as CHC Whip. He is also chairman of the CHC Task Force for Transportation, Infrastructure and Housing. Rep. Espaillat’s Congressional District includes Harlem, East Harlem, northern Manhattan and the north-west Bronx. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.

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