No For-Profit Detention Centers. We Need Congressional Oversight Hearings.

Sep 18, 2020

Working for human dignity,

Debra Schrishuhn and Dan O’Neal for Alan, Mike F, Janis, Dr Bill, Donna, Bryan, Kimberly, and Mike H—your PDA National Team


Progressive Democrats of America Stands with Immigrants and Opposes All For-Profit Detention Centers


Immigrant detention centers, many of them private for-profit entities, are hotspots for COVID-19 transmission because of overcrowding, institutional neglect, and unsanitary conditions. On Mondaya brave nurse, herself African American, spoke up for her sisters and brothers of color. Dawn Wooten risked her career to file a whistleblower complaint against a for-profit detention facility in Georgia.

Ms. Wooten detailed instances of gross mismanagement at the for-profit facility, including failure to provide protective equipment, under-testing for COVID-19, violating CDC rules, lack of hygiene and sanitation for medical exam rooms and equipment, and deliberately denying or delaying medical care for detained immigrants. Most alarming among her allegations is the high number of hysterectomies performed on immigrant women without any informed consent.

Regional development organization Project South stated, “Ms. Wooten’s whistleblowing disclosures confirm what detained immigrants have been reporting for years.”

Activist Erika Andiola tweeted, “We stand with all the survivors of these atrocities, with the Black and brown women in detention who have been protesting these conditions, and with Dawn Wooten for speaking out to demand that ICE be held accountable for its ongoing violations of human rights.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) issued a lengthy statement: “[I]nitial reports brought to light on Monday by whistleblower Dawn Wooten and Project South are likely part of a pattern of conduct. I am horrified and outraged to hear these stories, which contain many consistencies and raise serious questions about … the entire detention system—largely for-profit—that is complicit in the abuses of rights and has long run roughshod over and ignored neglected the health, wellbeing and human rights of immigrants.”

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) said, “Forced sterilization is a cruel tool of white supremacy with a long, abominable history in this country. We need a Congressional investigation into these heinous human rights abuses immediately.”

Members of Congress are calling for immediate Congressional oversight hearings. Rep. Jayapal and Sen. Cory Booker (NJ) introduced identical bills last year that need to be passed now: H.R.2415 and S.1243, the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act of 2019.

We cannot remain silent—please act now! Call your members of Congress today (House and Senate) and demand immediate Congressional oversight hearings and swift passage of these bills. Afterward, contact Mike Fox and let us know how your call went.

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