Mexico investigates uterus removal from Mexican migrants in a US detention center

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A Mexican migrant in a US detention center.John Moore / Getty Images

The Mexican government follows the trail of an alleged massive abuse of migrants, including Mexican women, detained in a US detention center. The Chancellor, Marcelo Ebrard, confirmed on Tuesday that his team is interviewing at least six Mexican women who may have been victims, along with dozens more Latin Americans, of massive sterilizations – through hysterectomies – without their consent at the Irwin County Detention Center , in the southern state of Georgia. The Mexican authorities have not yet reported the magnitude of what, if confirmed, would be one of the largest abuses of migrants committed during the Donald Trump Administration.

"Of course it is something unacceptable that we reject in advance, even without having all the information confirmed, when we do have it we share it with them, but even in the United States there is a significant reaction from many organizations with which we are in contact and this has to be clarified ; in his case, if confirmed, it is a major issue, not only to be punished, but to take other measures, "said Ebrard during the morning press conference on Tuesday. Sources close to Foreign Affairs have added to this newspaper: "It is reported that so far no such cases have been detected in Mexican nationals but the investigation is still ongoing."

Democratic congressmen and organizations defending immigrants in the United States have pressed these days for clarification of the complaint that was uncovered last week by one of the nurses who worked at the center, Dawn Wooten and that was collected by some NGOs such as Project South, Georgia Detention Watch and the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. In her public complaint, the former worker assured that the Irwin County Detention Center performed massive hysterectomies on migrants from different Latin American countries, refused to test detainees for covid-19 and destroyed medical documents. And he pointed to a gynecologist at the institution whom he pointed to as the "uterus collector." “All the people you see have a hysterectomy; pretty much everyone, ”Wooten added. The nurse also pointed out that some victims had told her that they had not fully understood why they should undergo the operation in which the uterus is partially or totally removed.

Wooten did not mention names Of the allegedly affected by these procedures and in the complaint filed with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), there are no first-person testimonies, only references to detainees interviewed by organizations denouncing such medical practices. One detainee, interviewed by Project South, compared the center to "a concentration camp where they experiment with people" and added: "It is as if they are experimenting with our bodies."

Democrats were quick to join the indictments after they have harshly condemned the Trump administration's treatment of immigrants over the past three years, including separating families and detaining children at the border. "If true, the deplorable conditions described in the complainant's complaint – including allegations that vulnerable immigrant women are undergoing massive hysterectomies – would be a shocking human rights abuse," said the Speaker of the Chamber. of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, in a statement.

For its part, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE for its acronym in English), responded in a statement: “In general, anonymous accusations without proof, made without any specific verifiable details, should be taken with the appropriate skepticism that they deserve ”. This Wednesday the Secretary of Homeland Security of the United States, Chad Wolf, has indicated in a hearing in Congress that they are investigating "the facts on the ground." Since coming to power, Trump has shown his determination to strengthen ICE both by expanding more detention centers and by hiring more personnel, in order to detain as many migrants as possible, according to the measures that announced in 2017 on this matter, and that they opened the doors to large raids against migrants in the country.

The Trump presidency has also increased migratory pressure on Mexico, whose government has accepted the implementation of policies highly criticized by human rights organizations and the opposition, such as the Remain in Mexico (Stay in Mexico) —so that migrants who are in immigration procedures in the United States can carry out their process on the southern side of the border — and the deployment of the National Guard on the border with Central America, to stop the arrival of migrants. Measures that in practice have turned Mexico into the wall desired by its northern neighbor.

However, in this case, the Mexican Foreign Ministry has anticipated other countries in the region, where there may also be victims, and has publicly promised to "clarify the facts," identify the Mexican women affected, and "guarantee respect for their rights".

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