Why Does ICE Continue to Lose the Trust of Citizens?

Medical neglect by ICE towards immigrants throughout the years has shown a repulsive manner of the way these people are treated.

Gabriela McGrath Moreira

Medical neglect by ICE towards immigrants throughout the years has shown a repulsive manner of the way these people are treated.

Gabriela McGrath Moreira, Staff Writer

Scandal after scandal, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement has lost the trust of the people. From separating children from their families to the horrible conditions at Detention centers and now forced sterilization of women, ICE has proven to be a monstrosity. Did you know that ICE was actually developed in 2003 due to the attack on Sep. 11, 2001? The goal was to have “a unique combination of civil and criminal authorities to better protect national security and public safety in answer to the tragic event.” It makes a lot of sense as it was America’s reaction to the tragic incident that day that shook and still shakes the world. What was also initiated after that tragedy, though, was islamophobia, which furthered the hatred and prejudice for immigrants overall in the United States. “Civil” means respecting and humanizing a person as well as listening and understanding their concerns, but that is far from the truth based on the actions ICE has demonstrated over the years.

Since ICE was created, there has always been a great deal of mistreatment towards immigrants, yet it only came to the attention of news outlets recently, as everything occurred under raps. This includes how children were separated from their parents who did not have proper documentation. They’d be forced to sleep in enclosed and tight cages with other children. It got to such an inhumane degree where a Guatemalan woman alleged her daughter died of a viral lung infection due to the neglect and mistreatment in those detention centers. She begged for her daughter to receive medical attention and as they blatantly ignored her, her daughter became even more feverish and weak.

”I think these accusations against ICE shouldn’t be taken lightly and definitely be investigated because by forcing women to be sterilized you are taking away their right to have children. A woman’s body should be respected and it’s sad to see how the government is still trying to take away women’s rights to choose over their own body.” junior Isabella Guerrero said.

As you can see, this type of medical neglect and overall mistreatment has been occurring ever since ICE was founded and it has now developed into non consensual hysterectomies. Recently, allegations of non-consensual hysterectomies being performed in ICE custody were released when these women were unaware of what was going on or why they even received surgery in the first place. In a complaint filed with the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, a nurse who worked at Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia reported concerns about a high rate of hysterectomies and alleged medical neglect. Lawmakers and representatives in Congress are calling for an investigation but ICE has come saying these claims are false and to be skeptical as these are “anonymous, unproven allegations”.

The allegations are incredibly horrific, but it is important to realize that America has a long history of forced sterilization, particularly against Black and Indigenous women. These procedures fit within a genocidal, white supremacist ideology, and one main reason I believe they are true is America has a long history of such crimes,

— junior Rachel Dopico

As further investigations are conducted on these illegal sterilizations, the ugly history of the U.S and forced sterilizations is now being brought up. In 1907, Indiana passed the first eugenics sterilization law and 37 states then joined. This law basically gave permission to conduct sterilizations on people who were deemed “mentally defective”. Women and people of color became the target as sexist and racist tendencies disproportionately affected minority groups. During the Eugenics era, the working-class youth, especially youth of color and women, were targeted for commitment and sterilization during the peak years, as well as Latinos. Mexicans were especially discriminated against as they were a lot of times deemed “unfit to reproduce” because they were “immoral or criminally inclined”. About 60 thousand people were sterilized due to this law which was, for the most part, repealed in the 1970s. This history of medical coercion is repeating itself now in these ICE detention centers as these immigrants are vulnerable and easily coerced into hysterectomies because they’d do anything to try to live in America.

On top of all of that, in four years there has been over 4,500 cases of sexual abuse of children in these detention centers where “detailed allegations that adult staff members had harassed and assaulted children, including fondling and kissing minors, watching them as they showered and raping them. They also included cases of suspected abuse of children by other minors.”

These current issues are interconnected with the racist and sexist tendencies that plague the United States. Mistreatment of people not only in detention centers but prison and mental health hospitals has now been uncovered as it has always happened inside closed doors. ICE was developed at a very unstable time in our country and has done more bad than good for people there supposed to “help”. This nation was built on the arrival of immigrants from around the world, thus the fact that they are receiving this treatment now is absurd and shameful. We need to be willing to learn about this history so we can come to a conclusion that it is critical to stop it from repeating itself.