Mexican Government Identifies Two Women Victims of Unnecessary Surgery in ICE Detention

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Photo courtesy of vox.com

While the country is distracted by the political scandals surrounding the presidential election, immigrants continue to pay the price for neglect and institutionalized racism.

Less than a month after a whistleblower’s complaint about questionable forced gynecological procedures at a detention center in Georgia was made public, the Mexican government has identified two women who allegedly underwent non-consensual surgery in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

In a statement issued last weekend, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said a Mexican citizen received “a surgical intervention” that she did not authorize. Although the Ministry specified that, in this case, the operation was not a hysterectomy as in the previous complaint, the detainee assured that she did not receive post-operative care.

Given the seriousness of what was reported by the woman, the General Consulate of Mexico requested an investigation and an independent evaluation by a medical specialist who, after exhaustively reviewing the file, assured that “there are irregularities or anomalies in the medical procedure.”

Similarly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs identified an additional case of a Mexican woman who is now in its national territory and who also claims to have undergone a gynecological surgery without her full consent. As explained in the government agency’s statement, the woman declared: “not to have received an explanation in Spanish of the medical diagnosis or the nature of the medical procedures that would be performed on her.”

The ministry said Mexico’s consulate in Atlanta was also in touch with a lawyer “to explore the legal channels that address the violation of their human rights.”

According to NBC News, lawyers representing detainees at the Irwin center said some women were being sent to a gynecologist who left them “bruised and performed unnecessary procedures.”

ICE acting Director Tony Pham said in a statement Wednesday that the nurse’s allegations “raised some very serious concerns that deserve to be investigated quickly and thoroughly.”

“ICE welcomes the efforts of both the Office of Inspector General as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s parallel review. As a former prosecutor, individuals found to have violated our policies and procedures should be held accountable,” Pham said. “If there is any truth to these allegations, it is my commitment to make the corrections necessary to ensure we continue to prioritize the health, welfare, and safety of ICE detainees.”