Washington DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council are calling on Congress to initiate an immediate and thorough investigation into conditions and medical care at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers following the disturbing news reports yesterday about the lack of COVID-19 protections and inadequate medical care, including a report that a number of women detained at the Irwin detention center in Ocilla, Georgia were unnecessarily subject to hysterectomies.
Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director at AILA, noted, “AILA and the Council, through our Immigration Justice Campaign, have documented egregious medical negligence within ICE facilities in recent years including the detention of infants under the age of 1, the detention of pregnant women, and lack of access to specialists. In May, we filed a civil rights complaint documenting numerous unsanitary and unsafe conditions in 11 ICE facilities as well as gross failures to protect individuals in custody during the COVID-19 pandemic. We call on Congress to investigate these claims immediately. If after a full investigation, the allegations prove to be true, all measures must be taken to seek justice for the victims and hold DHS leadership fully accountable.”
Beth Werlin, Executive Director at the American Immigration Council, added, “These allegations are perhaps the clearest examples to date of the horrors of our immigration detention system—a system that perpetuates racial violence and undermines access to justice, while providing billions of dollars in profit annually to private prison companies. DHS oversight bodies and Congress must launch full investigations into these claims immediately and those responsible must be held accountable. We, as a country, must not turn a blind eye to the impact that our immigration detention system has on individual lives. It is time to find a new way forward.”
The American Immigration Council works to strengthen America by shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration and by working toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring. The Council brings together problem solvers and employs four coordinated approaches to advance change—litigation, research, legislative and administrative advocacy, and communications. Follow the latest Council news and information on ImmigrationImpact.com and Twitter @immcouncil.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members. Follow AILA on Twitter @AILANational.
This press release was originally published on AILA’s website.