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September 18, 2020


DENVER, CO – Democratic members of the House and Senate, with the full support of the Colorado Latino Democratic Caucus, today released the following statement regarding the claims made by Dawn Wooten, a nurse at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Georgia that detainees there have been denied basic medical care and subjected to hysterectomies without their consent.

“These whistleblower claims of sterilization surgeries performed on immigrant women without their consent are horrifying and infuriating. If found to be true, these actions represent an unspeakable affront to human decency, dignity and rights. We support calls for Congressional investigations and demand that those responsible are held accountable and swiftly removed from their responsibilities overseeing the detention of immigrants.

“Reports of families being separated, women being sexually assaulted, children being kept in cages and now women being sterilized without their consent – the Trump administration repeatedly doubles down on practices that treat undocumented immigrants as less than human. We must work to increase accountability and move towards a system that can enforce our country’s laws while treating immigrants with decency, compassion, and respect. That’s exactly why this year the legislature passed legislation allowing the state to conduct regular and unannounced follow-up inspections of ICE facilities in Colorado, just as it would conduct inspections of any other penal facility in our state. While not an overarching solution to the inhumane treatment of immigrants, this oversight is an important step that we can take at the state level to ensure basic health, and safety standards are met.

“Crossing a border without proper documentation does not take away a person’s humanity or basic human rights. We demand a full and fair investigation into these allegations, and if they are found to be true, a swift end to these inhumane practices, accountability for any perpetrators and justice for victims.”

Today’s statement is signed by Representatives Lontine, Garnett, Froelich, Gonzales-Gutierrez, Alex Valdez, Woodrow, Coleman, Herod, Sirota, Hooton, Singer, Jaquez-Lewis, Becker, Exum Sr., Snyder, Kennedy, Duran, Cutter, Roberts, Titone, Tipper, Kraft-Tharp, Sullivan, Melton, Michaelson Jenet, Caraveo, Benavidez, Mullica, Bird, Weissman, Buckner, Jackson, Esgar, Buentello, Young, Kipp, McLachlan, McCluskie, and Donald Valdez, as well as Senators Garcia, Fenberg, Todd, Fields, Donovan, Winter, Bridges, Danielson, Moreno, Story, Gonzales, Pettersen, Williams, Lee, Foote, Hansen, Zenzinger, Rodriguez, and Ginal.

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