September 15, 2020

Whistleblower details forced hysterectomies at private immigrant detention center; Jobs With Justice calls for human rights trial, abolishment of private prisons



Contact: Nick Voutsinos, Jobs With Justice,, 717-413-7613 

Washington, DC – Immigrant women detained within an ICE facility in Irwin County, Georgia are receiving hysterectomies, and other procedures that permanently alter their reproductive health, without providing informed consent, according to new whistleblower complaint. 

According to Dawn Wooten, the whistleblower and former nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC), immigrant women at the facility are sent to an off-site doctor known as the “uterus collector.” The doctor and staff reportedly cannot speak the patients’ language, often receiving “consent” by “simply googling Spanish.” Consequently, many female patients receive extreme procedures, like hysterectomies, without knowing what they are agreeing to. “Just about everybody [undergoes a hysterectomy,” Wooten said. “Everybody’s uterus cannot be that bad.” 

ICDC is privately run by LaSalle Corrections, a corporation that operates immigration detention centers across the South. The facility is funded by the US government, and supposedly regulated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). But, like in countless other instances, DHS and the Trump Administration have effectively failed to protect and uphold basic human rights — in fact, recent themes suggest they are knowingly undermining human rights. 

“This is the latest in a series of repression by the illegitimate Trump Administration,” said Jobs With Justice Executive Director Erica Smiley. “First, the president and his team knowingly underplayed the threat of COVID-19, leading to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths in the US. Then, Trump incited violence in several US citiessuch as Portland and Kenosha, encouraging private, white nationalist militias to target the communities of color protesting police violence. And now, the Administration’s unlawfully acting-Secretary of DHS has overseen the forced sterilization of immigrant women immorally detained throughout the country. Enough is enough! Donald Trump and his leadership team must be removed from office and brought to trial for crimes against humanity.” 

Before Trump and his administration are finally held accountable for these human rights abuses, Jobs With Justice is joining Project South, Sister Song, and other progressive organizations in calling for the immediate abolishment of the Irwin County Detention Center, as well as LaSalle Corrections, to prevent further dismemberment and violence upon women. 

DHS has empowered the ICDC facility to enforce white supremacy by committing forced sterilizations against immigrant women and by practicing literal eugenics,” said Jobs With Justice Senior Immigrant Organizer Natalie Patrick-Knox. “We must abolish this facility, and follow the lead of states like California, and abolish all private detention centers, so that corporations like LaSalle can no longer profit off human suffering and white supremacy.” 

Follow @jwjnational on twitter and the #ShutDownIrwin hashtag for more updates. 


Jobs With Justice is the country’s leading nonprofit in the fight for workplace and economic democracy. Comprising of a national network of local affiliates in nearly every state, Jobs With Justice brings together coalitions of unions, worker organizations, community groups, students, and faith institutions to win concrete improvements in people’s lives. 

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