TEHRAN (Press Shia) – US House Democrats subpoenaed a private prison firm Wednesday after it refused to hand over documents related to allegations of medical abuse and COVID safety hazards among undocumented immigrants.

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Reps. Bennie G. Thompson, chair of the Homeland Security Committee, and Carolyn Maloney, chair of the Oversight Committee, issued the subpoena after having launched investigations into LaSalle Corrections, which runs the Irwin County Detention Center, back in September. Dawn Wooten, a nurse at the Georgia facility, alleged at the time that women held at the detention center underwent sterilizations without their consent. Wooten also alleged the facility routinely violated guidelines for mitigating the spread of coronavirus, Politico reported.

LaSalle Corrections has a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which the firm said prohibited it from sharing documents without ICE’s consent. But Thompson and Maloney dismissed the argument as specious, leading to their Wednesday subpoena. Thompson (D-Miss.) and Maloney (D-N.Y.) also said the firm refused to provide a copy of its contract with ICE.

“Despite the seriousness of the allegations taking place at their facility, LaSalle has stonewalled our Committees since we began our investigation in September,” Thompson and Maloney said in a statement. “By refusing to provide even the most basic information about the treatment and care provided — at taxpayer expense — to women detained at ICDC, LaSalle is actively obstructing the Committees’ efforts to examine the troubling allegations and get answers to the American people.”

ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday evening.

The allegations of nonconsensual gynecological operations caused furor among congressional Democrats earlier this fall, and the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general launched its own investigation into the allegations.

“If there is any truth to these allegations, it is my commitment to make the corrections necessary to ensure we continue to prioritize the health, welfare and safety of ICE detainees,” ICE Acting Director Tony Pham said in a September statement, AP reported.