Pelosi calls for probe of conditions at immigration detention center in S. Georgia

Federal complaint alleges high number of hysterectomies, failure to protect against COVID-19

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday called on the Trump administration to investigate a whistleblower complaint that criticizes the conditions at a federal immigration detention center in South Georgia.

Filed with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, the 27-page complaint alleges a high number of hysterectomies have been performed on detainees being held at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla. It also accuses the center of refusing to test symptomatic detainees for COVID-19, failing to distribute personal protective equipment to staff and systematically underreporting COVID-19 cases.

“If true, the appalling conditions described in the whistleblower complaint ― including allegations of mass hysterectomies being performed on vulnerable immigrant women ― are a staggering abuse of human rights,” Pelosi said in a prepared statement.

“This profoundly disturbing situation recalls some of the darkest moments of our nation’s history, from the exploitation of Henrietta Lacks, to the horror of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, to the forced sterilizations of Black women that Fannie Lou Hamer and so many others underwent and fought.”

Pelosi said the inspector general’s office “must immediately investigate the allegations detailed in this complaint. Congress and the American people need to know why and under what conditions so many women, reportedly without their informed consent, were pushed to undergo this extremely invasive and life-altering procedure.”

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