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Collins Condemns Democrats’ Partisan Attack on Irwin County Detention Center on the House Floor

Oct 1, 2020
Press Release

Urges Colleagues to Vote ‘No’ on H. Res. 1153 

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) today spoke on the House floor in opposition to H. Res. 1153, House Democrats’ partisan attack on the employees and doctors at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. Over the last several weeks, House Democrats have repeatedly accused the Center of conspiring with local doctors to systemically sterilize illegal aliens, despite the abundance of evidence contradicting the allegations.

Last week, Collins and Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) sent a letter urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) to consider the recently reported facts disputing Dawn Wooten and Project South’s allegations regarding the treatment of detainees at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia.

To read the full letter, click here.

To watch Collins’ floor speech, click here or on the image below.

Remarks as prepared:

Madame Speaker, for weeks now, this Majority has embraced the absurd and baseless accusation that employees and doctors at the Irwin County Detention Center in my home state of Georgia are engaged in a conspiracy with local doctors to systemically sterilize illegal aliens.

They have proven to the American people that no story is too outlandish to use in furtherance of their radical agenda. It would be a completely different situation if we were standing here today to take action on substantiated claims of mistreatment, but we are not.

We are here today so that the Majority can attempt to squeeze one last bit of value out of the false claims propagated in Project South’s complaint about the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. The Left knows these complaints aren’t true but they’re hoping we’ll ignore the mountain of evidence to contradict them. I have news for them: we won’t.

If the claim of “mass hysterectomies” were true – or if it were even substantiated by the smallest amount of evidence – it would absolutely call for swift action. But, to the contrary – and to the dismay of my Democrat colleagues – the claims of “mass hysterectomies” were quickly proven false mere days after the complaint was released. In fact, just days later, both the hospital and the detention center confirmed that only two such hysterectomies had been performed since 2017.

In the complaint, Ms. Wooten called a doctor at the Center a “uterus collector”, saying that she had spoken with “several inmates” who have “had hysterectomies”. Even more sensationalized, Ms. Wooten stated “everybody he sees has a hysterectomy – just about everybody."

Project South alleges that a detainee at the facility had “talked to five different women detained…between October and December 2019 who had a hysterectomy done.” But both the detention facility and the local hospital have clear evidence directly contradicting this hearsay: records showing that only two detainees have had hysterectomies since 2017. Let that sink in: only two hysterectomies have been performed on detainees at this facility since 2017.

So how can these claims of “mass hysterectomies” performed by “the uterus collector” be true?

Simple answer: They aren’t. In fact, Project South’s attorney and lead investigator for the complaint admitted to the Washington Post that she had not even spoken to or identified any detainee claiming to have undergone a hysterectomy. The group providing these claims has no evidence to back them up, but nonetheless, the Left is embracing them and is continuing to perpetuate falsehoods.

As the facts have come out to disprove these absurd claims, did Democrats acknowledge they were wrong? No. They conveniently shifted their argument to claims of “uninformed consent” and expanded the allegation to medical procedures generally and a lack of adequate translation services to try to strengthen their faulty allegations. But even those fail. According to employees at the facility, the Center has 24-hour access to interpreters for virtually every language which they consistently utilize. In fact, they even have several remote “medical interpreters” which specialize in relaying medical terms and advice to non-English speakers.

Clearly, the Majority does not care about the credibility of their witnesses and their “whistleblowers”, as long as they espouse claims that allow them to continue their attacks on the President and on law enforcement. We saw it during the sham impeachment, and we are seeing it here today.

Democrats have already expended a lot of time and effort trying to make the claims in this complaint true – writing letters to the DHS IG and traveling to Ocilla. In fact, just two days after the release of Project South’s complaint, 173 Democrats wrote the DHS IG urging an investigation centering their call almost entirely on Ms. Wooten’s debunked claims of mass hysterectomies. In their quest for the truth, however, they conveniently failed to update the DHS IG and the American public that their claims of a eugenics conspiracy in South Georgia have been proven false.

They also conveniently failed to mention that, according to its website, Project South is “committed to ending the use of local police to enforce” what they characterize as “the federal government’s draconian and racist immigration policies.” Further, the group boasts a goal of “shutting down immigration centers” and is a frequent user of the hashtag #abolishICE.

To set the record straight, Rep. Austin Scott and I wrote the DHS IG to shed light on the developments that followed Project South’s complaint and the group’s anti-law enforcement, anti-Trump agenda.

In their quest to further their radical agenda, the Left has cast a shadow over an entire town in Georgia and disparaged a respected doctor in the community, an Indian American immigrant who provides free medical services to low-income patients, simply for political gain. This doctor has been viciously slandered by the Left’s accusations that he carried out “mass hysterectomies.” Frankly, he should sue these organizations. It’s truly sad to see the lengths the Majority is willing to go to advance their own misguided policies and they should apologize to the doctor and to the Center.

It is clear to me that Project South has ulterior motives, and it is dangerous that Democrats are permitting this group’s complaint to serve as the foundation of a resolution when so many of its claims have already failed under scrutiny and the credibility of the entire complaint is shattered by Project South’s anti-ICE motives.

Despite Democrats’ wishes, the American people deserve to know the truth and they deserve to see the motives behind the claims: Project South is an anti-law enforcement organization that has a stated mission of shutting down detention facilities that included patently false claims in their complaint to the DHS IG.

Detention facilities like Irwin County Detention Center serve an important purpose in upholding our nation’s immigration laws and efforts like this one to disparage them and shut them down by choosing to ignore facts in favor of fiction is disgraceful.

I urge my colleagues to oppose this misguided and ill-informed resolution.

I yield back.

Issues: