ASISTA statement on Medical Abuse and Neglect in Immigration Detention

ASISTA, like you, is horrified at the allegations of medical abuse and neglect inflicted on women in immigration custody. As we support our partners in ensuring that these atrocities are investigated immediately, we are grateful for the relentless work of these organizations on the ground: Project South, Georgia Detention Watch, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, and South Georgia Immigrant Support Network. We are also grateful for the brave efforts of nurse Dawn Wooten, who brought these horrific abuses to light.

The abuse detailed in the complaint filed with the Office of the Inspector General fits a pattern of racist mistreatment that is endemic in immigration detention centers. Immigration and Custom Patrol (ICE) has proven, again and again, that they do not prioritize the health and safety of people in detention, which has only worsened during the COVID-19 crisis.  These most recent allegations in this complaint demonstrate that immigration detention centers are a breeding grounds for violence, abuse and neglect. Immigration officials have been accused of rape inside detention cells, filmed women as they showered, and threatened victims in their custody with deportation if they spoke out about the sexual abuse they experienced. 

We demand justice and accountability. The only way to keep detained individuals safe during a global pandemic is to release them. We all need to speak out now. By coming together and using our collective power, we can hold ICE accountable and start building a society free from this Administration’s cruelty—where families aren’t separated, and immigrants are treated with dignity and respect. 

What can you do?

These are two concrete ways to join in a unified response:

  1. For All
    • Sign the Families Belong Together Pledge to commit to the fight in order to liberate families and end these outrageous and systematic abuses. 
    • Call your Representatives and Senators now!  
      1. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
      2. Script: “My name is ________ and I am a constituent of your district. I demand that you take immediate action to investigate all allegations of abuse at  Irwin County Detention center, including unnecessary hysterectomies performed on immigrant women as well as violations of COVID-19 guidelines.” 
  1. For Attorneys & Accredited Representatives
    • Has your client suffered medical abuse/neglect in detention? AILA National EOIR/ICE Joint Liaison Committee is gathering data on inadequate medical care in all facilities used for ICE detention and feedback on continued detainee transfers and lack of proper COVID-19 testing. Please fill out the form ASAP.
    • Attorneys should rescreen cases for medical abuse and contact to connect to physicians willing to review medical records pro-bono; please include the specialty needed and they will connect to the right folks.
    • If you are an ASISTA member with a client who is a crime victim as a result of their treatment in ICE detention and need assistance with case strategy, please use our technical assistance request form and one of our attorneys will be happy to assist. 

In solidarity,


Leave a Comment