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Mexico asks US for info about reported abuse of migrants, hysterectomies

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file photo, taken on July 17, 2020, a flag of the US Department of Homeland Security is seen flying outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters in Washington, DC, the US. (By AFP)

Mexico says it has formally requested information from the United States about reports of sexual abuse and unauthorized hysterectomies at US immigration detention centers.

“A formal request has been made to the appropriate authorities for a report on the supposed negligent actions or rights abuses at immigration detention centers (in the United States),” the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The request was made after a former nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Georgia alleged that detainees had improperly received hysterectomies and other gynecological procedures.

Dawn Wooten made the allegations in a complaint filed with the US Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General on Monday by advocacy groups Project South and the Government Accountability Project. The complaint did not specify the nationality of the affected detainees.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has denied the allegations.

Also this week, an immigrant woman who had accused ICE guards of sexually assaulting her at a detention center in El Paso, Texas, was deported.

The Texas Tribune and ProPublica first reported the sexual assault back in August. The ICE said at the time that the accusations would be investigated. The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general also opened an investigation into her case and allegations from at least two other people.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry said its consulate in El Paso was in contact with the woman and her lawyer.

The ministry further said that it had activated consular protection mechanisms and that consular personnel would try to guarantee that migrants’ rights are respected at US detention centers.

“The government of Mexico will promptly follow up through its various diplomatic and legal instruments to fully understand what happened,” the ministry said.

US President Donald Trump has made his hard-line stance on immigration an integral part of his presidency and has promised to build a wall along the US-Mexican border to curb the flow of migrants from Mexico and Central America. Trump has called Mexican migrants “rapists” and “murderers.”

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