Grassroots Leadership In The News

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Feb 15, 2018
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Mundo Hispánico

Activistas denuncian que inmigrante fue enviada a aislamiento, ICE dice que no

"Laura Monterrosa, inmigrante que denunció abuso sexual por guardias del centro de detención T. Don Hutto, en Austin, Texas, fue puesta en confinamiento solitario, según una organización que está siguiendo el caso.

De acuerdo con Bethany Carson, investigadora y organizadora de inmigración de Grassroots Leadership, el 12 de febrero, después de pasar el fin de semana en aislamiento, Monterrosa, fue amenazada con ser regresada al encierro si no retiraba la denuncia hecha contra la seguridad del lugar y que se hiciera pública la nueva versión." Read more about Activistas denuncian que inmigrante fue enviada a aislamiento, ICE dice que no

Feb 14, 2018
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Austin Chronicle

ICE Retaliates Against Hutto Detainee?

"After accusing a T. Don Hutto detention center guard of sexual abuse, immigrant detainee Laura Monterrosa was held in solitary confinement for 60 hours last weekend as an act of retaliation by ICE, according to advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, who say Monterrosa was told she would not be released until she publicly stated no sexual abuse occurred.

Since Monterrosa’s revelation last November, ICE and for-profit detention center managers CoreCivic have increased punishment tactics with discipline and verbal aggression. Monterrosa attempted to take her own life by ingesting 51 pain pills left on Jan. 11. 'I feel very desperate because I tried to report the abuse from ICE and facility officials, but they continue to psychologically abuse me through intimidation,' she said last month. 'I do not feel safe or secure. I am not receiving the medical treatment or help I need.' Last week, an ICE official identified as “Soto” demanded she call Grassroots’ Bethany Carson and tell her she would no longer work with them; and that if she did not recant her story of sexual abuse to the media, she would face solitary confinement indefinitely, the organization claims." Read more about ICE Retaliates Against Hutto Detainee?

Feb 14, 2018
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Austin American-Statesman

ICE denies woman punished for sexual assault allegations

"Protesters gathered Wednesday morning outside the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor alleging a woman had been held in solitary confinement for refusing to recant her allegation that she had been sexually assaulted by a guard.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents placed El Salvadorian immigrant Laura Monterrosa in solitary confinement at the center for 60 hours from 11 p.m. Friday to 11 a.m. Monday, saying she would only be freed from solitary if she took back her story, said Cristina Parker, a spokeswoman for Grassroots Leadership." Read more about ICE denies woman punished for sexual assault allegations

Feb 14, 2018
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ShadowProof

ICE PUT IMMIGRANT WOMAN, WHO ALLEGED SEXUAL ABUSE, IN SOLITARY TO MAKE HER RECANT CLAIMS

“This should not be happening in America,” said Claudia Muñoz, immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership. “Here you have a woman who came forward to report rampant sexual abuse inside of a federal facility. Instead of protecting her and ensuring the abuse stops, ICE is now putting Laura in solitary confinement with the expressed intent of tearing her down so she will do as they say.” Read more about ICE PUT IMMIGRANT WOMAN, WHO ALLEGED SEXUAL ABUSE, IN SOLITARY TO MAKE HER RECANT CLAIMS

Feb 14, 2018
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Human Rights Watch

Can Immigrant Detainees Have a #MeToo Movement?

"Meanwhile, local advocates say that Laura is facing punitive measures for coming forward. According to them, Laura says detention center officials have threatened to keep her in solitary confinement unless she retracts her allegations – a terrifying prospect for someone like Laura who, the advocates say, has attempted suicide in detention.

All the reasons #MeToo as a movement to raise awareness was urgently needed elsewhere are magnified in the sprawling network of jails holding more than 40,000 non-citizens, including Laura, at any time." Read more about Can Immigrant Detainees Have a #MeToo Movement?

Feb 14, 2018
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Splinter

ICE Allegedly Puts Woman in Solitary Confinement to Get Her to Recant Claims of Sexual Assault

"The FBI picked up the investigation in December. According to Grassroots Leadership, 'Over the past four months, community advocates have witnessed ICE and CoreCivic’s retaliation tactics against Laura escalate from verbal aggression to threats of administrative discipline and indefinite periods of confinement. On Monday, ICE officials attempted to silence Laura by terrorizing her with threats of continuous isolation.'" Read more about ICE Allegedly Puts Woman in Solitary Confinement to Get Her to Recant Claims of Sexual Assault

Feb 14, 2018
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Univision

ICE niega haber castigado con aislamiento a una inmigrante que denunció abuso sexual

"La organización Grassroots Leadership asegura que Laura Monterrosa fue puesta en confinamiento en solitario durante 60 horas en el centro de detención Hutto, en Texas, manejado por un contratista federal. La agencia migratoria afirma que la salvadoreña estuvo en una unidad médica "bajo observación" por una situación que ella reportó." Read more about ICE niega haber castigado con aislamiento a una inmigrante que denunció abuso sexual

Feb 14, 2018
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El Diario de Juárez

Ocultan violación a indocumentada con celda de aislamiento

"Monterrosa también le dijo a Grassroots Leadership que le habían negado medicamentos para su salud mental y para una enfermedad que padece en el estómago, y también le pidieron que les dijera a los activistas que sí los había recibido.

El FBI se hizo cargo de la investigación a finales del año pasado, e interrogó a Monterrosa por primera vez durante la semana pasada." Read more about Ocultan violación a indocumentada con celda de aislamiento

Feb 14, 2018
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Daily Kos

ICE allegedly threw a detainee in solitary for 60 hours in demand she recant sexual abuse claims

"According to Grassroots Leadership and advocates, 'over the past four months, community advocates have witnessed ICE and CoreCivic’s retaliation tactics against Laura escalate from verbal aggression to threats of administrative discipline and indefinite periods of confinement.' Following 60 hours in solitary—which is torture—'advocates are calling on the Taylor Police Department to investigate ICE’s intimidation of Laura':

'This should not be happening in America. Here you have a woman who came forward to report rampant sexual abuse inside of a federal facility. Instead of protecting her, and ensuring the abuse stops, ICE is now putting Laura in solitary confinement with the expressed intent of tearing her down so she will do as they say. This is against the law. There is an ongoing FBI investigation and ICE is trying to convince this witness to change her story.' said Claudia Muñoz, immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership. 'This is one of the most egregious abuses I have ever witnessed.”'

Read more about ICE allegedly threw a detainee in solitary for 60 hours in demand she recant sexual abuse claims
Feb 12, 2018
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The Patch

Battle Lines Drawn As Austin Considers Paid Sick Leave Mandate

"It is disappointing, despicable, and desperate that opponents of paid sick days would use immigrant families as a pawn to stop this policy," their statement reads. "As grassroots leaders that have been on the front lines in the fight against Texas' anti-immigrant SB 4, we find it disgusting that big industry associations, with a track record of exploiting undocumented labor, would falsely cite concern for undocumented workers as a talking point against a policy that is good for Austin working families." Read more about Battle Lines Drawn As Austin Considers Paid Sick Leave Mandate

Feb 12, 2018
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Texas Observer

A Prison By Any Other Name

"Cate Graziani, a researcher with Grassroots Leadership who tracks the private prison industry’s movement into treatment and civil commitment programs, says the Littlefield contract felt like a 'consolation prize' after Correct Care failed for several years to privatize another state hospital.

'We had just told the state all about this company’s track record of serious problems, and then we turn around and they’re putting people in Littlefield months later,' she said." Read more about A Prison By Any Other Name

Feb 12, 2018
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World Socialist Website

The nightmare reality for immigrants across US in 2018

"Twenty-three-year-old asylum seeker Laura Monterrosa attempted suicide in January after exposing widespread sexual abuse by guards at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Texas, which is owned by the for-profit corporation CoreCivic. After speaking out Monterrosa was forced to eat in the same cafeteria as the female guard who repeatedly molested her multiple times." Read more about The nightmare reality for immigrants across US in 2018

Jan 26, 2018
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KVUE

Lawmakers respond to misleading ICE reports on raid numbers

"Cristina Parker, the communications coordinator for Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based immigrants rights advocacy group, said they've long-believed the reported total of 51 arrests was inaccurate. 

'It's one of the reasons we've told our sheriff, Sally Hernandez, we've told our City Council and Interim Police Chief Manley that they should not work with ICE. They cannot be trusted to even give accurate information at a basic level,' Parker said." Read more about Lawmakers respond to misleading ICE reports on raid numbers

Jan 25, 2018
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Workers World

Women in ICE detention attempt suicide

"Conditions for people in detention are only expected to worsen under the Trump administration. What is the solution to this rampant abuse, which is reminiscent of 19th-century prisons?

Solidarity. Organization. Fightback. As women march across the U.S. and around the world, the issue of women and trans people in prisons and ICE detentions must be front and center on our agenda.

Free them all and jail the oppressors— that’s the solution.

To support Laura Monterrosa’s case, visit grassrootsleadership.org." Read more about Women in ICE detention attempt suicide

Jan 25, 2018
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Austin Chronicle

Immigrant Women Stuck in Detention

"This isn't your usual bureaucratic backlog," says Sofia Casini, an immigration coordinator with Grassroots Leadership. "There aren't too many cases on the docket; there's hundreds of cases not on the docket. That's not normal in any legal context."

Without a court date, women can't know when to hire an attorney; when to collect evidence, like police records from their home country (an often dangerous task); and other time-consuming and costly preparations. And as weeks turn into months, evidence can grow stale and witnesses can back out. "They are getting no information at all about essentially their life sentence," said Casini. "It's hard to explain just how completely unjust and abnormal that is." Read more about Immigrant Women Stuck in Detention

Jan 25, 2018
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Austin Chronicle

Travis County Plans New Women's Jail

"One evening last September, an employee at the local organization Grassroots Lead­er­ship was scanning through Travis Coun­ty's proposed budget when she stumbled upon plans for a new $91 million women's jail on the county's Del Valle correctional campus. She spread the word to her co-workers, who were blindsided by the news. 'It immediately caught our eye and caused a lot of concern,' said Holly Kirby, criminal justice programs director for Grassroots.

Kirby notified several partner organizations of Grassroots' Decarcerate ATX campaign, which aims to reduce incarceration and its inordinate impact on communities of color. These included Lone Star Justice Alliance, Texas Advocates for Justice, Texas Appleseed, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, and Texas Fair Defense Project – 'all the folks in the community that should be a part of the conversation,' Kirby said. 'And it was a total surprise to all of us.'

Further alarming the coalition, the new women's facility is just part of the first phase of an extensive jail renovation and expansion expected to take 24 years and cost more than half a billion dollars. After testifying against the jail at the county commissioners' budget hearing in September, the coalition sent a letter to county staff and elected officials on Jan. 19, asking them to halt any further action on the jail. 'Our organizations strongly believe that before we invest millions in new infrastructure that potentially adds bed capacity to the Travis County jail system, serious analysis of the drivers of the jail population and formal consultation with stakeholders are urgently needed."' Read more about Travis County Plans New Women's Jail

Jan 25, 2018
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Texas Observer

ICE Arrested Nearly Three Times as Many Immigrants During Last Year’s Austin Raid Than Previously Reported

"Now, in response to a nearly year-old public information request, an internal ICE tally obtained by the Observer reveals that ICE nabbed 132 immigrants in the Austin area, nearly triple the number previously reported.

'This reflects what we saw on the ground, that ICE’s actions completely terrorized our community,' said Bob Libal, director of Grassroots leadership, an Austin immigrant rights group that reported receiving over a thousand calls to its deportation hotline during the operation. 'It reflects the impact we saw in the community, which was that of a large-scale action.”' Read more about ICE Arrested Nearly Three Times as Many Immigrants During Last Year’s Austin Raid Than Previously Reported

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