Physicians and Medical Professionals Demand:

Stop ICE from continuing to place individuals, families, communities and indeed the world at risk. CLOSE Irwin County Detention Center. Free them all.




A whistleblower report that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removed the reproductive organs of imprisoned women without their knowledge or consent and under circumstances of questionable medical need has rightfully created widespread reactions of horror.[1] Details continue to emerge, none of which are surprising to anyone familiar with the policies and practices of ICE. This kind of monstrously cruel, abusive and morally indefensible behavior is true to form. 

As medical professionals, many of whom have first-hand experience evaluating the human rights abuses in immigration detention, we know that this behavior goes far beyond a single facility or an individual bad actor. The horrors of the Irwin County Detention Center are the horrors of ICE and a racist immigration system; the cruelty is a core feature of a program that systematically dehumanizes and destroys individuals and families, and corrupts all who touch it.

ICE willfully ignored instructions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce unnecessary interfacility transfers and continues to deport thousands of individuals infected with COVID-19, devastating immigrant families and amplifying a global pandemic.[2] For months ICE refused to halt immigration raids as COVID-19 ravaged the United States, consuming precious personal protective equipment otherwise destined for healthcare workers and creating situations both in the community and in detention centers in which social distancing guidance was impossible, contributing to further spread.[3] The diabolical methods of ICE are entirely consistent over time. Starting in 2017, ICE took thousands of children from their parents, some of whom remain separated and may take years to be reunited, others who will never be returned to their families.[4, 5] Meanwhile, ICE guards have been accused of systematically sexually assaulting women in custody prior to deporting them.[6]

The current outrage over forced sterilization in Irwin County Detention Center similarly reflects a festering pattern of medical negligence and abuse in a system that is motivated by profit over people.[7, 8] We should be exquisitely attentive to America’s lengthy history of removing reproductive rights without consent as a means of oppression of those living with mental or physical disabilities, on the basis of race, and of individuals incarcerated in American prisons. At highest risk are Black immigrant women, whose demands for appropriate medical care alongside those engaging in hunger strikes and other means to preserve their safety while incarcerated by ICE are functionally erased.[9]

Genocide is a term to be used with great respect for the magnitude of the criminality that it holds.

Forced sterilization, child separation and death deportation, intentional medical neglect and mismanagement leading to illness and death is genocide. [10]

As medical professionals, we cannot sit silently while thousands of human beings are traumatized, assaulted, and killed. Current U.S. immigration policy is immoral. History has proven that immigration detention itself is far too great a threat to humanity to ignore.

The physician, and the medical community providing complicity, responsible for unauthorized hysterectomies must be held accountable. But that is not enough.

Irwin County Detention Center must be shut down. But that is not enough. 

This is about American immigration policy, ICE, and the prison and immigration detention industrial complex. 

The U.S. government must act immediately to stop ICE from continuing to place individuals, families, communities and indeed the world at risk. We must dismantle this system of violence and harm. Free them all.


We, the undersigned medical doctors, health professionals, and health professions students, call on Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, to put an immediate end to all forced sterilizations at immigration detention centers, to close Irwin Detention Center and hold accountable all those complicit in these abuses, and to release all individuals detained therein before additional women are victimized by such facilities.



Who's signing

Addie Walker
Anna Landau
Christina Kostarellis
Cameron Clarke
Natalia Forbath
Alex Graff
Anna Rose
Hannah Davies
alya Ahmad
Yolanda Alaniz
Kathryn Brigham
Marina Mezey
Jonathan Cunha
Lila Marshall
Morgan Booher
Ann Perrott
Kelly Johnson
Emma Cooper
Eli Nash
Oladimeji Oki
Holli Jakalow
Mina Krenz
Charlotte Lee
Heather Kelly
Karla Bell
Katheryne Ruck
Sarah Schmidhofer
Carolina Tanzer
Courtney Shipman
Janet Young
3,000 signatures

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  • Addie Walker
    signed 2021-01-02 18:20:53 -0500
  • Anna Landau
    signed 2021-01-01 01:23:17 -0500
  • Christina Kostarellis
    signed 2020-12-24 11:04:52 -0500
  • Cameron Clarke
    signed 2020-12-19 14:02:00 -0500
  • Natalia Forbath
    signed 2020-12-19 13:58:43 -0500
  • Alex Graff
    signed 2020-12-19 13:58:19 -0500
  • Anna Rose
    signed 2020-12-19 13:56:04 -0500
  • Hannah Davies
    signed 2020-11-18 09:23:31 -0500
  • alya Ahmad
    signed 2020-11-15 12:34:05 -0500
  • Yolanda Alaniz
    signed 2020-11-08 21:39:42 -0500
    These demands are very important. Can you send petition out to organizations with cover letter that ask them to help get it signed. I am willing to give you contact info on organizations in Los Angeles.
  • Kathryn Brigham
    signed 2020-11-05 09:58:58 -0500
  • Marina Mezey
    signed 2020-11-04 15:43:36 -0500
  • Jonathan Cunha
    signed 2020-10-30 17:34:44 -0400
  • Lila Marshall
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  • Holli Jakalow
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  • Charlotte Lee
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  • Heather Kelly
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  • Karla Bell
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  • Katheryne Ruck
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  • Sarah Schmidhofer
    signed 2020-10-22 16:48:59 -0400
  • Carolina Tanzer
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  • Courtney Shipman
    signed 2020-10-22 12:00:16 -0400
  • Janet Young
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