Whistleblower Reports Horrifying Allegations of Abuse at ICE Detention Facility

For immediate release
September 17, 2020

Media contact:
Elaine Sanchez Wilson
(202) 601-2970

Washington, DC – On Sept. 14, allegations of medical neglect and abuse were reported by a former licensed practical nurse of the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Ocilla, Georgia. The whistleblower, identified as Dawn Wooten, filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General regarding the lack of adequate medical care, unsafe work practices, and absence of adequate protection against COVID-19 for detained immigrants and employees at the facility. Wooten also detailed the alarming rate at which hysterectomies were performed on Spanish-speaking immigrant women under ICE custody at ICDC, some of whom did not consent to the procedure or may not have understood what they were agreeing to.
“These allegations are incredibly disturbing. We demand a detailed in-person investigation of the facility and these practices by the Office of the Inspector General, as requested by the complaint, and we echo the call from local advocates to immediately shutdown ICDC,” said Katrina Dizon Mariategue, Acting Executive Director of SEARAC. “Throughout Trump’s presidency, ICE has continuously failed to provide detained immigrants with basic human dignity, such as sufficient medical care. The revelation that this Administration may be practicing mass hysterectomies — a form of eugenics and ethnic cleansing — through the U.S. deportation system is shocking but not surprising, given all that we’ve seen over the past four years. SEARAC condemns the continued gross negligence and violence inflicted by ICE and urges the Department of Homeland Security to release all detained immigrants. We remain committed to fighting for an end to detention and deportations.”