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

Raymundo Garcia-Dwyer, MD
Marianne Yeung
Gabriel Rice, MD
Amy Rule
Julie Swartz, MD
Gloria Tavera
Nina Garga
Preethi Ananthakrishnan
Sophia Simon-Ortiz, MPH
Jennifer Naiser
Melanie Biegler
Jennifer Cowart
Susana Martinez
Megan Cassidy
Will Toperoff
Katherine McCann
Emi Ponce de Souza
Erinn Gallagher
Mary DeWaters
Jessie Weaver
Cecilia Divin
Briah Fischer
Julie Yeh
Katherine White
Dorit Koren
Cheryl Axelrod
Anna Cordova
Sheryl North
Gale Gordon
Dawn Hagan
3,000 signatures

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Showing 2860 reactions

  • Raymundo Garcia-Dwyer, MD
    signed 2020-09-16 17:34:56 -0400
  • Marianne Yeung
    signed 2020-09-16 17:33:22 -0400
  • Gabriel Rice, MD
    signed 2020-09-16 17:31:32 -0400
  • Amy Rule
    signed 2020-09-16 17:29:53 -0400
  • Julie Swartz, MD
    signed 2020-09-16 17:29:34 -0400
  • Gloria Tavera
    signed 2020-09-16 17:26:48 -0400
  • Nina Garga
    signed 2020-09-16 17:26:17 -0400
  • Preethi Ananthakrishnan
    signed 2020-09-16 17:24:39 -0400
  • Sophia Simon-Ortiz, MPH
    signed 2020-09-16 17:23:53 -0400
  • Jennifer Naiser
    signed 2020-09-16 17:20:01 -0400
  • Melanie Biegler
    signed 2020-09-16 17:19:24 -0400
  • Jennifer Cowart
    signed 2020-09-16 17:13:14 -0400
  • Susana Martinez
    signed 2020-09-16 17:11:04 -0400
  • Megan Cassidy
    signed 2020-09-16 17:05:34 -0400
  • Will Toperoff
    signed 2020-09-16 16:59:37 -0400
  • Katherine McCann
    signed 2020-09-16 16:54:21 -0400
  • Emi Ponce de Souza
    signed 2020-09-16 16:51:38 -0400
  • Erinn Gallagher
    signed 2020-09-16 16:46:35 -0400
  • Mary DeWaters
    signed 2020-09-16 16:46:26 -0400
  • Jessie Weaver
    signed 2020-09-16 16:46:25 -0400
  • Cecilia Divin
    signed 2020-09-16 16:45:51 -0400
  • Briah Fischer
    signed 2020-09-16 16:42:43 -0400
  • Julie Yeh
    signed 2020-09-16 16:42:25 -0400
  • Katherine White
    signed 2020-09-16 16:41:44 -0400
    These are crimes against humanity and must stop.
  • Dorit Koren
    signed 2020-09-16 16:25:37 -0400
  • Cheryl Axelrod
    signed 2020-09-16 16:24:05 -0400
  • Anna Cordova
    signed 2020-09-16 16:18:47 -0400
  • Sheryl North
    signed 2020-09-16 16:17:39 -0400
  • Gale Gordon
    signed 2020-09-16 16:15:14 -0400
  • Dawn Hagan
    signed 2020-09-16 16:13:44 -0400