Ald. Milele Coggs
Press Release

Council members introduce resolution requesting Congress investigate allegations of medical misconduct of ICE detainees


By - Sep 18th, 2020 08:24 am

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia denied detainees of essential health care rights and sent women to a doctor who performed unnecessary hysterectomies. The allegations arose after a whistleblower complaint was filed from a nurse at the facility. In response to these claims, Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, Alderman José G. Pérez and Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa are sponsoring a resolution calling on Congress to investigate the situation and provide the findings to the public.

“If true, these unnecessary surgeries are some of the most heinous human rights abuses ever conducted by our government. These stories are reminiscent of the forced sterilizations of Black women that Fannie Lou Hamer and so many others underwent and fought for justice over,” Alderwoman Coggs said. “Far too often women and people of color are the targets of this practice, underscoring its use as a tool to further sexism and racism in our society. We must immediately demand action and justice for these women.”

Alderman Perez said the allegations are almost unfathomable. “It is truly appalling and unbelievable to think that this kind of horrendous mistreatment and abuse could be happening to detainees in the U.S.,” he said. “Sadly, based on the Trump administration and federal government’s response to our own citizens in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, it seems to me to be an unjust and nightmarish pattern. I want the government to provide a full accounting of what has occurred in this Georgia detention center.”

Alderwoman Zamarripa noted the lack of adequate care and ill treatment of immigrant detainees at the ICE facility seems to go further than just the alleged mass hysterectomies. “We are hearing that detainees requesting medical help were routinely ignored, that staff there would refuse to test detainees for COVID-19, would allow employees to work while symptomatic and awaiting COVID-19 test results, and would brazenly withhold information from detainees and employees about who had tested positive, underreporting COVID-19 cases, and allowing the movement and transfer of detained immigrants who had tested positive for the virus,” Alderwoman Zamarripa said.

The resolution will be before the full Common Council for immediate adoption at the Council’s next meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, September 22nd. The meeting will be televised live on the City Channel (channel 25 on Spectrum Cable and channel 99 on AT&T U-Verse in the City of Milwaukee) and via streaming video on the city website at

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