BREAKING: Legal Filing Reveals Growing Number of Women Experienced Medical Abuse in ICE Custody
After having unnecessary, non-consensual medical procedures performed on them, ICE continues attempts to silence the women who have spoken out
Ocilla, GA – On December 21, lawyers representing the women who suffered medical abuse at the Irwin County Detention Center filed a class action petition and complaint on behalf of thirteen women, and others similarly situated, who came forward about the neglect, abuse, and retaliation they experienced while in immigration custody. In total, more than 40 women filed sworn testimony in court — despite ICE’s constant attempts to silence them — revealing a relentless pattern of unnecessary and non-consensual medical procedures, including unwanted gynecological surgeries and other non-consensual medical interventions.
The new filing includes extensive testimony from gynecological and mental health experts, as well as statements from the women detailing their experiences. The lawsuit calls for an immediate end to retaliation against women for speaking out, compensation for the harms they have suffered, and writs from the court requiring ICE to make the women available to fully participate in the lawsuit, or alternatively, to release the women from the detention center. Alongside the complaint, the groups filed a motion for a temporary restraining order.
Advocates are also calling for the return of those who have been deported for speaking out, as the evidence of neglect and violence continues to grow. Advocates urge the incoming Biden administration and Congress to correct the wrongs of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda by closing the Irwin County Detention Center and investigating all ICE officers and contractors who turned a blind eye against the abuse the women suffered under their supervision.
Organizations and firms representing the women detained at Irwin include:
National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG)
Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, Columbia Law School
Dreyer Sterling LLC
Community Health Law Partnership Clinic and First Amendment Clinic, University of Georgia School of Law
Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, Harvard Law School
Immigrant Rights Clinic, Texas A&M School of Law
Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program, Boston University School of Law
Other supporting organizations include the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Georgia Detention Watch, and South Georgia Immigrant Support Network, which along with Project South filed the September 14, 2020 whistleblower complaint shining a light on abuses at Irwin; as well as the Immigration Law Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
For more information about this case, visit NIPNLG’s case page here.
The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) is a national non-profit membership organization of lawyers, law students, legal workers, advocates, and jailhouse lawyers working to defend and extend the rights of all noncitizens in the United States, regardless of immigration status. We pursue all forms of legal advocacy on behalf of immigrants and provide technical assistance and support to legal practitioners, community-based immigrant organizations, and advocates seeking and working to advance the rights of noncitizens. Learn more at nipnlg.org. Follow NIPNLG on social media: National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild on Facebook, @NIPNLG on Twitter.
Project South was founded as the Institute to Eliminate Poverty & Genocide in 1986. Our work is rooted in the legacy of the Southern Freedom Movement, and our mission of cultivating strong social movements in the South powerful enough to contend with some of the most pressing and complicated social, economic, and political problems we face today.
The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program is one of the oldest immigrants’ rights programs in the country. Established nearly forty years ago at Harvard Law School, the program represents immigrants seeking immigration protection in administrative tribunals, pursues impact litigation seeking to advance immigrants’ rights, and engages with community-based organizations on policy advocacy strategies. Follow HIRC on Facebook and Twitter @HLS_Immigration.
The Texas A&M School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic provides pro bono representation to noncitizens, focusing on deportation defense, appeals, amicus briefs, and federal litigation related to immigration detention. The Clinic also publishes human rights reports and examines issues at the intersection of immigration and public health. Law students gain hands-on experience while working collaboratively with local and national organizations.
The Boston University School of Law Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program advocates on behalf of vulnerable immigrants in a broad range of complex legal proceedings before the immigration courts, state, local and federal courts and before immigration agencies. The Clinic also collaborates with local, state and national immigrants’ rights and human rights groups to advance protections for vulnerable immigrants and survivors of human trafficking. Under the supervision of professors and instructors, law students represent children and adults seeking protection in the United States including survivors of torture and trauma, survivors of domestic violence, abandoned and abused children, and the mentally ill and incompetent, including representation of detained and non-detained individuals in removal proceedings.
The First Amendment Clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law defends and advances freedoms of speech and the press through direct client representation and advocacy on behalf of members of the public, journalists, students, government employees, and others. Training law students to be leaders on First Amendment issues as litigators and community educators, the Clinic’s work promotes free expression, open government, and the creation of a more informed citizenry.
The Community Health Law Partnership at the University of Georgia School of Law is a legal clinic in which students advocate in administrative proceedings and in state and federal courts on behalf of vulnerable immigrants with a variety of health-harming legal needs.