FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 17, 2020
Salt Lake City, UT – Today, 10 Utah groups came together to call on Utah’s members of Congress to join in calling for the DHS Inspector General to investigate reports of abusive medical practices in an immigration detention center in Georgia. Earlier this week, news broke of a nurse blowing the whistle on mass hysterectomies taking place at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. On Tuesday, a group of 168 members of Congress signed a letter calling on the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General to open an investigation into the allegations. None of Utah’s Congressional delegation signed the letter.
The Utah groups calling for an investigation include the ACLU of Utah, Alliance for a Better Utah, Comunidades Unidas, La Red de Solidaridad, March For Our Lives Utah, Rape Recovery Center, Utah Sierra Club, Utahns Against Hunger, Voices for Utah Children, Utah Coalition of La Raza, as well as individuals Dulce Horn and Martha Black. They issued the following statement:
“If the allegations in the complaint coming out of the Irwin County Detention Center are true, the United States has engaged in a sickening and unconscionable violation of human rights. Utahns have not only the right but the moral responsibility to learn how ICE has been treating people in immigration detention facilities.
“Forcibly sterilizing migrant women is the ugly result of racism combined with a lack of respect for people’s sovereignty over their own bodies and reproductive choices. We believe all people should have the fundamental agency to make choices for their own bodies, and that everyone seeking to live in the U.S. should be treated with dignity and respect.
“Our Utah representatives in Congress have each prided themselves on standing for family values, yet none of them signed on to the initial call to investigate this horrifying claim. This cannot stand. We call on Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney, as well as Representatives Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart, John Curtis, and Ben McAdams to use all the power and privilege of their positions to ensure that an investigation is carried out and that justice is delivered to those who have been abused in ICE custody.”
Alliance for a Better Utah is a nonprofit that holds politicians accountable and advocates for progressive policies that make Utah an even better place. The organization improves the lives of all Utahns through advocacy, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.