Leading Democrats are calling for an investigation into claims that immigrants held at a detention center in Georgia may be undergoing forced hysterectomies. In a whistleblower complaint filed Monday, a nurse alleged the Irwin County Detention Center performed questionable hysterectomies, refused to test detainees for COVID-19 and shredded medical records. A medical official in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a statement saying only two women have been referred for hysterectomies from the facility since 2018. Wooten worked full-time as a licensed practical nurse at the immigration jail until July, when she was demoted. “If true, the appalling conditions described in the whistleblower complaint – including allegations of mass hysterectomies being performed on vulnerable immigrant women – are a staggering abuse of human rights,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. The Associated Press
U.S. Deports Key Witness in Sexual Assault Case
The U.S. government deported a crucial witness in an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual assault and harassment at an El Paso immigration jail, the witness’s lawyer says. The 35-year-old woman had been held at the facility for about a year and said there was a “pattern and practice” of abuse there. Guards systematically assaulted her and other detainees in areas outside of security cameras. “If she behaved,” one guard allegedly told her, “he would help her be released.” The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General requested ICE not deport the woman and the FBI interviewed her extensively. Still, she was deported Monday. The Texas Tribune
Study: Exclusion of Undocumented Immigrants from COVID Relief Cost the U.S. $10 Billion
The exclusion of undocumented immigrants living in the United States and their families from the $1,200 COVID-19 stimulus payments resulted in a loss of $10 billion in potential economic output, according to a study from the University of California, Los Angeles. It also cost 82,000 jobs nationally and 17,000 jobs in California. The study found undocumented workers and their families contributed more than $1.6 trillion to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2018 through their shopping and workforce activities. “Our undocumented neighbors buy groceries, pay taxes and support local businesses in economic activity that generates $190 billion in government revenue nationwide,” explained Raul Hinojosa, the report’s lead author. UCLA (press release)
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ICE Begins National Raids Again After COVID Hiatus
Since mid-July, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have taken more than 2,000 people into custody. Agents made 300 arrests in Los Angeles alone. More than a thousand others were apprehended in New York City, Atlanta and Phoenix as well as cities in Colorado, Idaho, Montana and other states. The operation was publicly announced after it had been underway for many weeks. About 85 percent of those arrested either had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges, according to the agency. But many of the arrested committed minor crimes and had been ordered removed on an immigration violation. The New York Times
Trump Executive Order Reflects Meatpacking Industry Draft
In late April, as COVID-19 was quickly infecting hundreds of meatpacking workers, many of whom are immigrants or refugees, President Trump issued an executive order aimed at keeping the plants open to supply food to American consumers. Emails obtained by ProPublica show that before the executive order was issued, the meat industry’s trade group drafted a very similar executive order and sent it to top officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The draft sent by Julie Anna Potts, president of the North American Meat Institute, was written using the framework of an official executive order and stressed the importance of the food supply chain. Although the final wording was not verbatim, Trump’s executive order focused on many of the same key points. ProPublica
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