VIDEO: How Forced Sterilizations Became a U.S. Legacy

So far, we know of at least 17 women in ICE custody who’ve had involuntary hysterectomies at a Georgia detention center. Forced sterilizations happening today, in 2020. At RAICES, our staff routinely see and document terrifying medical negligence and abuse in immigrant detention centers so we expect the number of survivors of these violations coming forward to increase.

It’s nauseating and profoundly upsetting, but to better understand the significance of this moment and why it’s not an isolated scandal, we need to talk about the origins of forced sterilization.



This long and twisted U.S. legacy is deeply rooted in a white supremacist movement to create a “better race” known as eugenics.

Throughout the twentieth century, the U.S. has employed forced sterilizations as a tool of violent oppression against Black, indigenous, and other people of color by robbing them of their right to decide what to do with their bodies, leaving them unable to have children.

That we’re seeing forced sterilizations happen today shows how profoundly dehumanizing our immigration system is. It tells us how systemic the abuses of immigrants have become and just how far ICE thinks they can push it. We’ve already seen them take children from their parents, sexually abuse people in their custody, let kids die in cells, repeatedly deny vital medical care, and expose people to COVID-19.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) internal watchdog announced that it will be launching an investigation into the accusations and practices of the Irwin County Detention Center. You read that right, that means DHS is investigating itself.

It’s time to #FreeThemAll and #AbolishICE.