Sterilizations to migrant Latinas in the United States: Who is behind this?

The Citizen
4 min readOct 3, 2020


The Foreign Minister of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, said that the Government of the presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador is investigating the complaints

The Project South organization, based in Atlanta, Georgia, denounced that at least 17 women held in migrant centers were victims of forced sterilizations. The order presumably issued by the Donald Trump government would have included the removal of reproductive organs without their consent or with no knowledge of the cause for this procedure.

This complaint prompted Democratic congresswoman Pramila Jayapal to demand an investigation into the events. The main source of the allegations is a nurse who worked at the Irwin Migrant Detention Center. If confirmed, it would spell shocking human rights abuse.

Days ago, the Foreign Minister of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, said that the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) is investigating the complaints. According to him, at that moment, he was in contact with six Mexican women who could have undergone the procedure.

This week, Mexican authorities confirmed that the US Department of Immigration performed a gynecological surgical intervention on a Mexican woman, without her consent. However, they announced that it was not a hysterectomy, that is, the removal of the uterus.

The information was revealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) when explaining that the incident took place in the immigration detention center in Irwin, Georgia. This site is under the responsibility of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office.

Several civil organizations denounced that Spanish-speaking women detained at that immigration center underwent bad medical procedures, including forced sterilizations. “The Government of Mexico is giving a timely follow-up to the case”, stressed the Foreign Ministry.

Were there or not sterilizations?

In a statement, the AMLO government detailed that as of September 14, the date on which they made the complaints, 21 Mexican citizens have passed through that retention site. So far, diplomatic personnel have been able to speak, in person or remotely, with 18 of them.

The head of the Mexican Consulate General in Atlanta, Javier Díaz de León, visited the detention center on September 23 to meet with 18 of his nationals.

None claimed to have been subjected to forced sterilization. However, they did not deny the possibility of having been victims of bad practices for different reasons, indicated the SRE.

Five of them, and two more who are in Mexico but were in that immigration center in the days prior to the complaint, indicated that they had had an interaction with the doctor related to the hysterectomies.

The Foreign Ministry found that one of the Mexican women interviewed, who remains hospitalized in the immigration center, underwent “a gynecological surgical intervention” without her authorization.

Irregularities in surgeries

Then, in collaboration with the Emory University School of Medicine, Mexican consular personnel studied the medical record provided by ICE. There, they found that although a hysterectomy was not performed on the patient, there is no documentation to support her consent for gynecological intervention.

In addition, another Mexican who is already in her country was also operated on by personnel from the immigration center. However, there is still no greater detail of what type of surgery was performed.

“All the cases of surgical intervention and the complaints received from Mexican citizens are under careful study in order to determine whether said medical procedures were carried out properly and with their full consent”, emphasized the SRE quoted by the mexican newspaper La Jornada.

Finally, the Foreign Ministry added that they sent a diplomatic note to the United States Government in order to clarify the situation. In it, they requested information on the medical care measures that Mexican citizens receive in the said detention center.

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