Austin council member denied a visit with asylum-seeker in detention

February 20, 2018
Austin American-Statesman

"Monterrosa, a 23-year-old artist from El Salvador, is seeking asylum in the United States and has been held at the facility for nearly nine months, said Grassroots Leadership, an immigrant advocacy group that also is seeking her release. It said she is fleeing from violence in her country and that a nonprofit group in Austin has agreed to provide her shelter and counseling.

Bethany Carson, a researcher for Grassroots Leadership, said Monterrosa tried to kill herself Jan. 12 after swallowing 50 pills left with her by CoreCivic, which owns and operates the detention center. Monterrosa was then put in solitary confinement for 60 hours this month just days after the FBI interviewed her about her sexual assault allegations, Carson said.

[...] When she was released from solitary confinement, Carson said, a guard told her she would have to recant her allegations or be placed in solitary confinement indefinitely. Monterrosa said she was having suicidal thoughts again this past weekend, Carson said, and is also having medical problems, is vomiting and cannot eat."