The entrance to the Stewart Detention Center is pictured in Lumpkin, Georgia. Reade Levinson/Reuters

Whistleblower Alleges ICE Detainee Mistreatment

A Whistleblower has alleged mistreatment of detainees in ICE detention camps in the United States. What happened?


A Whistleblower has alleged mistreatment of detainees in ICE detention camps in the United States. What happened?

  •  A complaint filed on Monday with the watchdog that oversees the Department of Homeland Security and the OIG alleges widespread abuse at Irwin Detention Center, an ICE facility in Georgia.
  • The complaint was filed by a group of lawyers in Atlanta, GA on behalf of Dawn Wooten, a nurse who was employed by the detention center.
  • The complaint alleges that COVID-19 cases are severely under-reported, and that safety precautions had not been followed; it also alleges that hysterectomies and other gynecological procedures were performed on detainees without their consent. It also notes that employees and detainees who tried to speak out against these practices were punished.
  • Wooten’s testimony was corroborated by 5 other unnamed witnesses with experience at the facility, some of whom are detainees.
  • DHS responded to the complaint, calling the allegations “anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics” and ensured reporters that ICE was doing everything in its power to maintain the health and safety of detainees.
  • Wooten is protected under the Whistleblower protection program and cannot face retaliation for her allegations.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • Classifies the women who are receiving the hysterectomies as detained immigrants when speaking about the testimonies of women who spoke with various reporters, framing the issue as a human rights concern
  • Generally reports that the hysterectomies were forced upon women and that many women did not know why the procedures were being conducted and that these women did not consent to the procedures performed, and calls the issue eugenics
  • Typically does not report on the actions taken by Congress or the lack of congressional action, or focus on giving praise Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who has urged for an investigation to be conducted into the physicians at the Georgia ICE detention center



  • Refers to the women who are receiving the hysterectomies as illegal or  unidentified detainees when speaking about their testimonies
  • Errs on the side of caution, calling the allegations questionable
  • Distorts the administrative actions taken by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi by reporting that there should be an investigation of DHS handling of ICE detention centers rather than the accused physicians overseeing the procedures of hysterectomies


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© Evelyn Torsher, 2020