Whistleblower allegations that women detained by ICE were forced to undergo sterilizations and of widespread medical neglect must receive full and independent investigations.
While these allegations rightly shock the conscience, they are in-line with the Department of Homeland Security's long track record of abuse and neglect of people in its custody. Nearly 200 people have died in ICE custody since the agency's creation less than two decades ago. Immigration advocates around the United States have long raised concerns about availability of appropriate medical care for people in detention.
"Forced sterilization is amongst the most serious of human rights violations, considered on par with torture, genocide, and other crimes against humanity," says Robin Phillips, executive director of The Advocates for Human Rights.
The United States has a duty to ensure that the basic human rights of people in its custody are respected, protected, and fulfilled. The Advocates for Human Rights calls for immediate cessation of forced sterilizations, independent investigation into the specific allegations, a system-wide review of medical treatment to ensure appropriate care for all people in immigration custody, and accountability for those responsible. The Advocates also calls upon federal and state lawmakers to take steps to reduce the scope of immigration detention, establish robust oversight and safeguards for medical care, and end state-sanctioned sterilization and reproductive coercion in all contexts.