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

Grace Furnari
Alejandro Victores
Bernard Rosenfeld
Lauren D'Andrea
Sahit Menon
Jeanette Zambito
Freidam Peaple
Traci Eilenberger
Christianne Thompson
Mercedes Schultz
Christina Bate
Manjari Daniel
Laini Kelley
Caroline Wang-Crocker
Kelsey Henderson
Gabriela Quiroz
Amber Hathcock
Sarah Messmer
James Zhang
Shirley Chi
Gauri Shastri
Mary Rigoni
Anne Willenborg
Miranda Leeming
Aliza Grossberg
Iman Hassan
DeShawn Taylor
Katie Becker
Amanda Snead
Rohini Loke
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  • Grace Furnari
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