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STATEMENT BY ATTORNEY-IN-CHARGE OF BDS’ DETAINED DEPORTATION DEFENSE TEAM ON IRWIN DETENTION CENTER WHISTLEBLOWER REPORT

September 16, 2020

 

Contact: Daniel Ball, dball@bds.org 

 

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

STATEMENT BY ATTORNEY-IN-CHARGE OF BDS’ DETAINED DEPORTATION DEFENSE TEAM

 ON IRWIN DETENTION CENTER WHISTLEBLOWER REPORT

 

(BROOKLYN, NY) – Andrea Sáenz, Attorney-in-Charge of the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) for Brooklyn Defender Services, released the following statement about allegations of medical neglect and human rights violations raised by whistleblower Dawn Wooten, a nurse at the ICE detention center, Irwin Detention Center in Georgia:

“The accounts of torture and neglect at the Irwin Detention Center detailed by whistleblower Dawn Wooten are horrifying but sadly not shocking. From forced sterilization of immigrant women to life-threatening conditions that further the spread of COVID-19, these revelations once again demonstrate that the federal government continues to subject vulnerable people to inhumane, intolerable conditions. 

As attorneys representing detained immigrants in the New York City area, we know these types of atrocities happen at the over 200 ICE detention facilities across the country, including the jails where immigrants we represent are detained in New York and New Jersey. The people we represent have long reported dangerous, unsafe and negligent conditions, only exacerbated by the pandemic, including extreme isolation, lack of basic sanitation, and being denied adequate medical, mental health, and dental care and procedures. Across the country, immigrants in detention have resorted to hunger strikes to protest detention conditions.  

Immigrants do not need to be incarcerated as they fight their deportation cases. They can live and work in their communities where they can better support their families, and access counsel and evidence for their cases. We reaffirm our calls for ICE to cease raids and free all immigrants from their jails to allow them to remain safely with their families. We must end ICE detention and abolish ICE.”

BACKGROUND: Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) provides multi-disciplinary and client-centered criminal, family, and immigration defense, as well as civil legal services, social work support and advocacy for tens of thousands of people in Brooklyn every year.  Since the pandemic struck, BDS’ New York Immigrant Family Unity Project has taken successful legal action forcing ICE to release 75% of all the detained immigrants we serve.

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