Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement on a whistleblower complaint filed on behalf of a nurse at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center documenting ‘jarring medical neglect’ within the facility, including a refusal to test detainees for coronavirus and mass hysterectomies being performed on immigrant women:
“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. 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.
“The DHS Inspector General 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.
“It is also essential that we get answers regarding ICE’s egregious handling of the coronavirus pandemic, in light of reports of their refusal to test detainees including those who are symptomatic, the destruction of medical requests submitted by immigrants and the fabrication of medical records.
“Reports such as these point to the urgent need to overhaul our unaccountable detention system and its horrific misuse by the Trump Administration, to ensure that these abuses cannot ever again happen.”