Grassroots Leadership In The News

Mar 21, 2018
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The Hill

Congressional accountability measures for ICE are long overdue

"If we need fresh examples of ICE human rights violations, we need only to look back to last month. That’s when Laura Monterrosa, a woman who accused a guard of sexually abusing her last fall in Hutto Detention Center in Texas, was locked in solitary confinement for 60 hours and told she wouldn’t be released until she recanted her sexual assault complaint." Read more about Congressional accountability measures for ICE are long overdue

Mar 20, 2018
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Al Dia News

Laura Monterrosa released

"Laura Monterrosa, a 23-year-old Salvadoran immigrant, was arrested in May 2017 after trying to enter the country without documents, fleeing the daily aggression against LGBTQ people that happens in her country. After 10 months in prison, and under threat of deportation, she decided to speak and make public her sexual harassment situation inside the facilities of the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas.

According to Univisión(link is external), Monterrosa wrote a letter of complaint detailing her situation and asking the Williamson County Sheriff's Office to 'take the reins of the investigation.'

The pro-immigrant activist group Grassroots Leadership made the letter public, and assumed the legal defense and the struggle for the liberation of the young Salvadoran woman." Read more about Laura Monterrosa released

Mar 20, 2018
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Mundo Hispánico

Liberan a Laura Monterrosa, la salvadoreña que reportó abuso sexual en centro de detención en Texas

"Grassroots Leadership la organización pro inmigrante que luchó por su liberación, informó a través de un comunicado que la mujer de 23 años salió de detención como resultado de una campaña de meses y de todo el apoyo que recibió." Read more about Liberan a Laura Monterrosa, la salvadoreña que reportó abuso sexual en centro de detención en Texas

Mar 19, 2018
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Rewire News

‘A Huge Victory’: Woman Who Alleged Assault by Guard Finally Released From Detention

"Laura Monterrosa was released from detention Friday evening after a months-long campaign by the advocacy organization Grassroots Leadership, culminating with a letter to the Department of Homeland Security signed by more than 45 Congressional representatives calling for an investigation into sexual abuse allegations at Texas detention centers. The members of Congress demanded an expedited audit to assess Hutto’s compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act. 

Getting released from detention has been a long road for Monterrosa, who Grassroots Leadership says is 'adjusting to her new environment and recovering from the trauma she has experienced.'" Read more about ‘A Huge Victory’: Woman Who Alleged Assault by Guard Finally Released From Detention

Mar 19, 2018
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Democracy Now!

Salvadoran Asylum Seeker Who Says She Was Sexually Assaulted in Detention Is Freed

"In Texas, a 23-year-old Salvadoran asylum seeker named Laura Monterrosa has been freed from the T. Don Hutto detention facility, after a national campaign to win her freedom. Monterrosa says she was sexually assaulted by a guard while in detention and was then placed in solitary confinement in retaliation for speaking up. She fled El Salvador to escape sexual persecution as a lesbian and was detained for nine months."

  Read more about Salvadoran Asylum Seeker Who Says She Was Sexually Assaulted in Detention Is Freed

Mar 19, 2018
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La Opinion

Liberan a migrante que denunció acoso sexual, afirman que no es el único caso en centro de detención

“La valentía y liderazgo de Laura han impulsado un movimiento en el condado de Williamson que elevó la consciencia sobre los abusos que han ocurrido en el centro”, dijo este lunes Bethany Carson, de la organización Grassroots Leadership. Read more about Liberan a migrante que denunció acoso sexual, afirman que no es el único caso en centro de detención

Mar 17, 2018
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KVUE

Woman alleging sexual assault against ICE guard now released

"Laura Monterrosa, an undocumented immigrant woman detained at T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, who reported she was sexually assaulted by a guard, was released Saturday, according to Grassroots Leadership.

'Despite facing retaliation inside, including solitary confinement, Laura showed incredible courage in speaking out to tell her story,' said Claudia Muñoz, immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership. 'This is a huge victory for Laura, for all the women who have organized and spoken out, and for the community that came to their support.”' Read more about Woman alleging sexual assault against ICE guard now released

Mar 17, 2018
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KXAN

Asylum seeker alleging sexual assault at WilCo detention center freed

"An asylum seeker who says a guard sexually assaulted her while she was in a Williamson County immigration detention facility has been released according to Grassroots Leadership -- a group supporting her.

The group said Laura Monterrosa was released from detention at the Don T. Hutto facility on Friday evening after months of protesting and campaigning." Read more about Asylum seeker alleging sexual assault at WilCo detention center freed

Mar 17, 2018
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Washington Post

Salvadoran woman who alleged abuse leaves immigration center in Texas

"A woman from El Salvador who said a guard groped her at an immigration detention facility has been released, advocates said Saturday.

Laura Monterrosa-Flores was released late Friday from the T. Don Hutto Residential Center outside Austin, where she had been held for months, Grassroots Leadership organizer Bethany Carson said. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which had sued on Monterrosa-Flores’s behalf, said Saturday that the Department of Homeland Security agreed to release her under deferred action, which provides individuals temporary relief from deportation." Read more about Salvadoran woman who alleged abuse leaves immigration center in Texas

Mar 17, 2018
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Univision

Liberan a inmigrante que denunció ser acosada por guardia en centro de detención de ICE

"A pesar de enfrentarse a represalias internas, incluyendo el confinamiento solitario, Laura demostró una valentía increíble al alzar la voz para contar su historia", dijo en un comunicado Claudia Muñoz, directora de programas de inmigración de Grassroots Leadership, el grupo que lideró la campaña para liderar a Monterrosa. "Esta es una gran victoria para Laura, para todas las mujeres que se han organizado y alzado la voz, y para la comunidad que salió a apoyarla". Read more about Liberan a inmigrante que denunció ser acosada por guardia en centro de detención de ICE

Mar 17, 2018
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El Universo

Liberan a inmigrante salvadoreña que alegó abuso en un centro de detención en Texas

"Laura Monterrosa Flores salió libre este viernes por la noche del Centro Residencial T. Don Hutto, en las afueras de Austin, dijo Bethany Carson, activista de Grassroots Leadership.

'Ella ya puede seguir adelante y recuperarse de los abusos que sufrió mientras estuvo detenida y antes de eso, en El Salvador', dijo Carson." Read more about Liberan a inmigrante salvadoreña que alegó abuso en un centro de detención en Texas

Mar 17, 2018
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KVUE

WilCo group demands action from county commissioners on sex assault investigation

A group called Grassroots Leadership demanded the release of an undocumented immigrant woman detained at T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor.

Grassroots Leadership said Laura Monterrosa has been at the detention center since May 2017.

Last November, Monterrosa reported she was sexually assaulted by a guard. ICE officials told KVUE they found her claim to be unsubstantiated.

Grassroots Leadership members said the county is liable for the abuses that are happening to Monterrosa and should intercede with ICE for her release. 

"The county is a party to the contract, along with ICE and CoreCivic for the T. Don Hutto Detention Center," Grassroots Leadership member Bethany Carson said. "They are liable for any abuses that happens as a party to the contract." Read more about WilCo group demands action from county commissioners on sex assault investigation

Mar 16, 2018
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We are Mitu

This Woman Was Sexually Assaulted In An Immigration Detention Center And Now Risks Deportation

"The #MeToo movement, a hashtag used on social media to demonstrate a widespread epidemic of sexual assault and harassment, is expected to bring change on how these situations are handled. It is also encouraging women to share their experiences in a show of solidarity. But for some, such as 23-year-old Salvadoran immigrant Laura Monterrosa, going public about her experiences could ultimately lead to her deportation." Read more about This Woman Was Sexually Assaulted In An Immigration Detention Center And Now Risks Deportation

Mar 15, 2018
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Texas Observer

Texas Prison System Sheds Men, Swallows Even More Women

"Travis County officials say they’ve implemented a laundry list of reforms to divert people from jail in recent years, such as drug courts and cite-and-release policies for certain low-level offenses. But the coalition of community activists, drug treatment providers and formerly incarcerated women who attended last week’s commission meeting questioned how well those programs are working, particularly for women. For instance, the number of women with mental health issues booked into the jail has doubled since 2013.

'What are our mental health diversion programs doing?' Cate Graziani, a researcher with Grassroots Leadership, told commissioners. 'That is an indicator that they’re not working.'

[...] Brandi French, who first entered prison at age 19, asked Travis County commissioners last week to put the money they would have spent building a new women’s jail into community recovery programs.

French, who calls herself a recovering drug addict, says she spent most of her 20s behind bars. She tried both college and church to stay sober, but neither worked. When she was 34, she went with her child to a place called Austin Recovery, one of only three treatment centers in Texas that allow women to bring their children with them. 'It was the first time I was ever diagnosed with bipolar disorder,' French told commissioners. 'First time, after seven years in prison. Nobody ever looked at my mental health issues.'

'Building a new prison is not the answer,' she said. 'Putting sick people behind bars is not the answer.'" Read more about Texas Prison System Sheds Men, Swallows Even More Women

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