ICYMI: Rep. Austin Scott Slams Democrats for Resolution Regarding the Irwin County Detention Center
Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08) today spoke on the House Floor in regards to a whistleblower complaint filed with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (IOG) which alleged mass hysterectomies were being performed on detainees at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. The complaint also cited a lack of adherence to COVID-19 safety precautions.
On September 26, several Congressional Democrats visited the center in Georgia’s Eighth District. Today, they brought a resolution to the House Floor condemning the facility, DHS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the medical staff named in the allegations.
Rep. Scott contends that House Democrats should wait for the allegations to be investigated by DHS, as requested by Rep. Scott and several Members of Congress from both parties, before asserting them as true.
On September 25, Rep. Scott and Rep. Doug Collins (GA-09) sent a letter to Joseph Cuffari, DHS Inspector General, urging the OIG to consider recently reported facts disputing the allegations and the radical agenda of Project South, the non-profit at the center of the claims, while conducting their investigation into the complaint. You can click here to read their letter.
Rep. Austin Scott speaks on the House Floor in response to allegations made against the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia.
Below is a transcript of Rep. Scott’s remarks edited for clarity:
“I'd like to thank my colleague and all my colleagues, and Madam Speaker.
“I'd like to focus my comments on the attacks on the Irwin County Hospital and the staff at the Irwin County Hospital. One of the things that I'd like to make very clear is, while I was not invited to the event at the Irwin County Detention Center that my colleagues had – even though it is in my district – I was on the telephone with people who were there at the time, including our local hospital administrator.
“I have been to that facility, and one of the things I want everybody in this Congress to understand is that the surgical procedures are not done at the Irwin County Detention Facility. They're not. They are done at the Irwin County Hospital, and so when you talk about procedures being done at the Irwin County Detention facility, it's just false. They're done at the Irwin County Hospital. The detention facility is not set up to do surgical procedures.
“The question is, ‘how do we get here?’ There was a whistleblower complaint filed by a group named Project South on September 14 of 2020. I have a copy of the complaint. The complaint focuses on COVID and challenges they may or may not have had with COVID, and every facility in the United States – including this Congress – had challenges with personal protective equipment and COVID and how we were handling those issues.
“Now, in this complaint, which focuses predominantly on COVID, they make an allegation of hysterectomies. I want to read to you from one of the AP articles: ‘A lawyer who helped file the complaint said she never spoke to any women who had hysterectomies. Staff attorney at the advocacy group told the Washington Post she included the allegations because she wanted to trigger an investigation to determine if they were true.’ The investigation has been triggered.
“We all want the investigation to go forward, and we want the facts to come out. Nobody wants the facts to come out more than those of us who live in that area. Nobody wants the facts to come out more than the doctor and the hospital and the staff at that hospital and the people who work at the detention facility.
“I'd like to share with you a couple of quotes from some other articles. This is from the Washington Post: ‘the advocacy group that filed the complaint, Project South, did not make the hysterectomy allegations the focus of its September 14 complaint to DHS, a complaint that alleged there is poor medical care and novel coronavirus risk at the ICE facility.’
“Further: ‘Priyanka Bhatt, the attorney at Project South who was the lead investigator for the complaint, said in an interview with the Washington Post that she did not speak to or identify any women who had undergone a hysterectomy.’ I would like to have submitted for the record this article [from the Washington Post].”
“Another article from Reuters: ‘the Mexican Foreign Minister said on Thursday that the government has not yet found any proof of forced sterilization of Mexican women being held at the detention facilities in the United States.’ I would like to submit this for the record.
“Now, somewhere between September 14 and September 25, House Resolution 1153 was drafted. I think that that date is extremely important because, you see, the resolution was drafted before [House Democrats] even went to the ICE Detention Facility in Irwin County. It was drafted before [they] even got on the site to see what was actually happening, and on the 26th the hospital administrator was there. A couple of things I want to point out are that the hospital administrator is a lady – a good lady and good hospital administrator – and the doctor is an immigrant.
“Now, everyone who came to that facility had the opportunity to meet with the hospital administrator. Every single one of [them] refused the opportunity to get the facts from the hospital administrator. Never mind the facts. You wonder why people hate us up here.
“I have a statement, Madam Speaker, I'd like to read from the Irwin County Hospital who wants a complete and thorough investigation: ‘The Irwin County Hospital is aware of various allegations of misconduct against individuals being detained at the Irwin County Detention Center. The hospital is committed to the safety and welfare of everyone in our care, including patients referred for care from Irwin County Detention Center. From 2017 to the present, two individuals in detention at the Irwin County Detention Center were referred to Irwin County Hospital for hysterectomies.’
“[Democrats] have made accusations of mass sterilization. [They] should be embarrassed by [their] conduct. [They] don't want an investigation because [they] don't want the facts.
“From 2017 to the present, two individuals in detention at the Irwin County Detention Center were referred to the hospital for hysterectomies. The MD performed these procedures. He's a long time member of the medical staff and has been in good standing to the community. Irwin County Hospital is and will continue to cooperate with any and all regulatory investigations related to health care services provided at Irwin County Hospital.
“Dr. Ramin has performed two hysterectomies in 3.5 years on detainees at the hospital. This has been confirmed by independent reviews, and independent peer review confirmed those cases were medically necessary. Irwin County Hospital is the closest hospital facility to the Irwin County Detention Center.
“The CEO of the hospital was available to the Hispanic Caucus during their visit to the detention center. The warden made the Caucus aware of her presence at the facility and availability, and no questions or interactions way were made by the caucus. [They] absolutely refused to even speak to the lady that runs the local hospital because [they] don't want the facts.
“I yield the remainder of my time.”