The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) detained Jane Doe #15, an immigrant woman, at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Georgia. During Jane’s time at ICDC, Doctor Mahendra Amin hastily examined her because she was experiencing severe pain in her pelvic area. Abandoning established professional and legal protocols for diagnosis and treatment, the medical staff scheduled Jane for surgery. Jane did not know what to expect from the surgery or what the medical personnel would do. After the surgery, the staff at ICDC neglected Jane’s care. She could not get out of bed on her own; her wounds would not stop bleeding and eventually became infected. Two months later, Dr. Amin, after refusing to answer Jane’s questions, told Jane she could no longer have children. Unfortunately, this story of abuse at the ICDC is not an isolated situation. Immigrant women detained at the ICDC have been suffering egregious medical abuse for decades. Advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Project, and Project South, have raised concerns about the ICDC’s treatment of immigrants at the facility. Further, according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspection reports, the ICDC continues to violate national detention standards. Recently, in September 2020, a whistleblower complaint by a licensed practical nurse at the ICDC exposed the nonconsensual and unnecessary gynecological procedures performed on immigrant women at the facility. This Comment focuses on advancing the reproductive rights of immigrant women held in detention centers in Georgia. In particular, this Comment recommends that the Georgia General Assembly enact legislation prohibiting the sterilization of any individual imprisoned in its state. Part I discusses the historical background of forced sterilization. Part II reviews pending cases of immigrant women who have filed suit against the ICDC challenging medically unnecessary and non-consensual gynecological procedures performed on them. Part III describes the relevant law and standards in detention centers. Part IV examines how the DHS, ICE, and the ICDC violated detained women’s fundamental rights guaranteed under domestic and international law. Part V provides recommendations to the state of Georgia.
Lizet Palomera Torres,
A Vicious Cycle: United States’ Failure to Protect Immigrant Women’s Reproductive Rights at the Irwin County Detention Center, 53 Golden Gate U. L. Rev.