It’s a facility that’s nearly 1,000 miles away from the Bronx. But it’s not far enough to escape the attention of U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat.
The congressman is sounding a warning that women are being refused medical care at the Irwin County Detention Center, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility operating in the small community of Ocilla, Georgia — about three hours south of Atlanta.
“Earlier this morning, we learned that officials transported one of the women to an outside medical provider where she underwent testing for respiratory illness,” Espaillat spokeswoman Candace Randle Person shared in an email Monday.
“During her visit, health providers confirmed that she requires an inhaler that should be taken every two hours. Yet, the facility has nor provided the assistance she requires. Additionally, ICE has failed to provide any explanation why the response to her earlier complaints of chest pain was a visit to the gynecologist in September and a breast exam without any indication.”
Even worse, Person claims some of the women in the facility fear retaliation by ICE for disclosing ongoing conditions with Espaillat during a visit to the facility last month.
Espaillat renewed his calls to close the facility, which also has been the subject of reports that women were forced to undergo hysterectomies. Ken Cuccinelli, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that “every single procedure has to be approved by our medical team. We review each one of these.”
Cuccinelli also denied that an outside OB/GYN, Dr. Mahendra Amin, performed numerous hysterectomies, only stating that two such procedures were completed.
“This is an ongoing issue,” Person said in her email to constituents. “Our office has been in touch with representatives from ICE as well as legal counsel of the women directly impacted by the center’s negligence and reckless endangerment.
“We will not forget them, or leave them behind.”