MSNBC: Senate Report Reveals Medical Mistreatment of ICE Detainees

This article features Government Accountability Project whistleblower client claims and was originally published here.

Had Democrats not won the Senate majority in 2020, Tuesday’s Senate report highlighting systemic medical abuse and misconduct facilitated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials might never have been released.

Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia, who unveiled the report, made that argument during Tuesday’s episode of “The ReidOut” to highlight the importance of Georgia’s upcoming Senate runoff between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and bumbling former footballer Herschel Walker. The proof is in the pudding.

Ossoff said the current majority allowed Democrats to investigate “abuse, corruption and misconduct,” including the harrowing revelations he unearthed from Georgia’s Irwin County Detention Center as chair of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

In 2020, a Department of Homeland Security whistleblower came forward alleging that Dr. Mahendra Amin, an off-site OB-GYN who worked closely with the Irwin facility, had performed procedures that were unnecessary and left patients bruised. (Amin is involved in ongoing litigation against NBCUniversal, MSNBC’s parent company, regarding reports about the allegations.)

Following the whistleblower report, human rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers called for the allegations against Amin to be investigated. The findings of the resulting probe were released Tuesday.

Summarizing the findings, Ossoff said his committee discovered “detainees held by the Department of Homeland Security who were subjected to unnecessary, invasive and often nonconsensual gynecological surgical procedures.”

The report called Amin a “clear outlier in the volume of certain OB-GYN procedures he performed.” Furthermore, it says ICE officials conducted insufficient oversight of off-site medical providers such as Amin, and that officials neglected to take steps to improve medical care provided at the Irwin County Detention Center despite knowing it was poor quality.

Ossoff said Amin, who has said the allegations against him are false, invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify before the Senate subcommittee, The Washington Post reported. A DHS official told the subcommittee Tuesday that Amin remains under criminal investigation by multiple federal agencies, according to the Post.

Karina Cisneros Preciado, one of the detainees whose allegations against Amin are detailed in the report, testified Tuesday before the subcommittee. Amin, she said, “roughly” performed a vaginal ultrasound and ordered a nurse to inject her with Depo-Provera contraceptive. Preciado said she didn’t know Depo-Provera was a form of birth control until after she received the shot.

“We’re not animals,” she said while fighting back tears. “We’re human. We’re not just a number.”

Activists argue the mistreatment of ICE detainees, in general, is another instance in United States’ history of unfair and inhumane medical treatment of people of color. From medical experimentation on Black men in Alabama in the 20th century, to a Maryland hospital collecting Henrietta Lacks’ cells without her consent in 1951, the health care system and white supremacy have co-mingled for centuries.

The Senate report appears to support what many of those calling for the abolishment of ICE have been saying for years: This agency is the tip of the spear used in the racist war on immigrants