JERSEY CITY, NJ - Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ) reacted to news reports that at least 17 women held in the custody of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the for-profit Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia were subjected to unnecessary medical procedures, including sterilization, without their knowledge or consent over a period of several years. 

“These procedures represent a blatant and appalling violation of human rights,” said Sires. “I have joined my colleagues in two letters urging the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General to immediately investigate the allegations—which bear horrific resemblance to our country’s past use of forced sterilization on incarcerated people and minority communities—and I will continue working to ensure that ICE is held accountable."

The alarm was raised after a nurse working in the facility made a complaint prompting Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the vice chair of the House immigration subcommittee, to further investigate, leading to findings that nearly 20 women detained at the facility had been subjected to unnecessary gynecological procedures, including hysterectomies, often “with the clear intention of sterilization” and without obtaining proper consent.

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“I also offer my deepest condolences to the women who have been harmed,” Sires said. “I will not stop fighting to protect the health, safety, and dignity of immigrants, and to uphold the reproductive rights of every person no matter their immigration status.”

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