Protesters gather at a press conference in Atlanta on September 15, 2020, condemning the situation at the Irwin County Detention Center in Oshira, Georgia. Credit-Jeff Amy-AP
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Thursday morning Irwin County Detention Center In Oshira, Georgia, whistleblowers allege that doctors performed hysterectomy and other medical procedures without consent.
According to a DHS statement Secretary Alejandro Mallorcas We have instructed Tae Johnson, acting Secretary-General of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Authority (ICE), to prepare to end use of the facility “as soon as possible”. The Irwin County Detention Center is run by the private sector LaSalle Collection. According to the DHS, preparations included “preservation of evidence for ongoing investigations, relocation of ICE personnel as needed, and ongoing detention to accomplish national security, public security, and border security missions. Includes “transfer of detained non-citizens who continue to need”.
“We have a duty to permanently improve our civil immigration detention system.” Mallorcus Said in an official statement. “This is an important first step towards achieving that goal. DHS detention facilities and the treatment of individuals at those facilities are carried out in accordance with our health and safety standards. They are in short supply. If we find out, we will continue to act as we do today. “
The second facility, the C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, is also the center of allegations of abuse and is under federal investigation. DHS announced Thursday that it will terminate its contract with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO), which oversees the facility. A 2020 investigation by the Massachusetts Attorney General found that the BCSO violated the civil rights of migrant detainees in the incident that occurred on May 1, 2020. report The State Attorney General, issued in December 2020, encountered “excessive and disproportionate” forces such as flash bang grenades, pepperball launchers, pepper spray canisters, anti-riot shields, and dogs.
Neither La Salle Corrections nor BSCO immediately responded to TIME’s request for comment on DHS’s decision to terminate use of the facility.
LaSalle previously refuted allegations of illegal activity at the Irwin County Detention Center. “ICDC has a proven track record of providing high quality and culturally sensitive services in a safe and humane environment, and it is well established that the health and well-being of those receiving ICDC care is a top priority. “We are,” LaSalle spokeswoman Scott Satterfield told TIME in December. Statement for 2020. When the Massachusetts AG report was published in December 2020, BCSO spokesman Jonathan Darling called it a “politically motivated stunt.” MassLive.. “We support the response to the incident and look forward to the results of a truly independent investigation currently underway by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General,” Darling told Outlet.
According to DHS, detainees remaining in both facilities will be deported.
Immigrant advocates, activists, democratic leaders ACLU And Congressman Pramira JayapalHaving long called for the closure of these facilities, praises the decision.
“We are excited about this development,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, Director of Legal and Advocacy at Project South, in a statement to TIME. Project SouthAtlanta-based legal and advocacy non-profit organization, Dawn Wooten Whistleblower testimony This includes allegations that doctors performed unwanted gynecological surgery on more than 12 women detained in Irwin. “Given the widespread history of human rights abuses, Irwin should have been closed long ago. Until women who were medically abused in Irwin received some relief and compensation, we There is no rest, and until ICE and the prison company LaSalle are held liable for allowing abuse to occur. “
Shahshahani is also a council Class action proceedings For ICE submitted in December 2020 on behalf of a woman detained in Irwin.
In an official Homeland Security statement, Johnson, Deputy Director of ICE, said: Space to accommodate non-citizens as needed. “
Report from Vera Bergengruen / Washington, DC