The cruelty and cynicism of the Trump administration seem to know no bounds. With only weeks left in the White House, the government’s immigration agencies are trying to eliminate the evidence of human rights violations committed over the past four years.
After news of the forced sterilizations of immigrant women held at the Irwin County detention center last July, DHS proceeded to deport at least six women who testified about the irregular surgeries.
A month later, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs identified one of the women and proceeded to open an investigation into the detainee’s allegations.
Subsequently, the Associated Press reported that lawyers for the women who were victims of forced sterilizations say that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has deported six women who claimed that the Detention Center doctor, Mahendra Amin, gave them medically unnecessary and non-consensual procedures that could have sterilized them.
The lawyers added that at least seven other women, currently detained at the Irwin County Detention Center, are also at risk of deportation.
They said that one of the women was told by ICE officials that her suspension of deportation had been lifted within hours of speaking with investigators, while another was told to sign the deportation papers after being taken to an airport in Georgia by staff. The woman was returned to the center after her lawyers filed a federal lawsuit.
The Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into the allegations, while Amin no longer treats the women at the center. Her attorney, Scott Grubman, has denied that his client committed any wrongdoing.
Lawyers for the women allege the agency is deliberately sabotaging the case by deporting witnesses and creating a significant logistical obstacle to their testimony.
“ICE is destroying the evidence needed for this investigation,” Columbia University law professor Elora Mukherjee, who is assisting several of the plaintiffs, told the AP.
For example, Mbeti Ndonga, who was given a dilation and curettage procedure and a laparoscopy, was told she would never be able to have children after the procedures. Shortly after being interviewed by investigators, her attorneys said ICE told her she could be deported to Kenya at any time after her deportation hold was lifted.
“Mbeti’s fear in answering the investigators’ questions was that it would make her immigration case worse,” Mukherjee said. “And within hours of the interview, her worst fears were realized.”
ICE claimed the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, which is conducting its own probe, was notified of any planned deportations of Amin’s accusers.
“Any implication that ICE is attempting to impede the investigation by conducting removals of those being interviewed is completely false,” the agency said in a statement, according to the AP.
In the past, the U.S. government finally agreed to freeze any planned deportation of the abused women at the detention center in Georgia.
According to NPR, in a consent motion filed in U.S. District Court, authorities and prosecutors’ attorneys jointly notified the court that the alleged victims, as well as others with “substantially similar factual allegations,” will not be deported from the United States.
However, the damage is done, and the outgoing administration’s record of human rights violations will remain forever the worst in the country’s history.