An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Georgia allowed an off-site doctor to perform unwanted gynecological procedures on detained women in a failure of human rights, the bipartisan U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has found.
“Female detainees in Georgia were subjected by a [Department of Homeland Security]-contracted doctor to excessive, invasive, and often unnecessary gynecological surgeries and procedures, with repeated failures to obtain informed medical consent,” Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., the panel’s chairman, said during a hearing Tuesday. He also called the detainees’ treatment “nightmarish” and a “disgrace.”
Ossoff and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., the subcommittee’s ranking minority member, released a lengthy report on the abuses.
“[This] in my view … represents a catastrophic failure by the federal government to respect basic human rights,” Ossoff added.
The problem initially came to light through a September 2020 whistleblower complaint.
One doctor – Dr. Mahendra Amin– was behind the abuses at the Ocilla facility between 2017 and 2020, Ossoff said.
Though Amin performed only 6.5% of total OB/GYN visits among the nationwide population of ICE detainees, Amin performed more than 90% of all Depo-Provera (a contraceptive) injections and other invasive gynecological procedures nationwide, Ossoff said. The patients were often unaware of or unwilling to receive the unnecessary treatments, the senator said.
Amin was subpoenaed by the subcommittee, Ossoff said, but invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify.
The federal government failed to thoroughly vet Amin before hiring him, even though he had faced lawsuits for performing unnecessary medical procedures, racked up medical malpractice complaints and was not board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, Ossoff said.
LaSalle Corrections, a Louisiana company, runs the South Georgia ICE detention facility. Dr. Pamela Hearn, medical director for the company, said LaSalle’s management team had not been able to oversee Amin’s medical treatment and had not been given an opportunity to vet him.
Karina Cisneros Preciado was forced to receive an unwanted contraceptive shot from Amin while detained at the facility in 2020 and 2021. Amin told her she might need an additional surgery later, she testified before the committee.
“Dr. Amin’s abuse has caused ongoing damage to my physical and mental health,” Cisneros Preciado said. “I was only saved from the surgery because news about Dr. Amin’s abuse came out. Why was he allowed to harm me and so many other women?
“To this day, I am extremely scared to go to any doctor, for myself and my kids. … I don’t want this to happen any other women or person in general.”