Grassroots Leadership In The News

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 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

Mar 14, 2018
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Texas Tribune

After ruling on Texas' "sanctuary cities" law, opponents say they're down but not out

"Another option is for local governments to adopt or continue policies where being charged for an alleged misdemeanor doesn’t trigger automatic arrest, said Bob Libal, the executive director of Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based immigrant rights and private-prison watchdog group.

'Local officials need to act swiftly to stop the arrest-to-deportation pipeline that will be accelerated by SB 4,' Libal said. 'They can start by enacting policies that end discretionary arrests while ensuring that scarce public resources are not wasted on unnecessary immigration enforcement actions that terrorize the immigrant community.'" Read more about After ruling on Texas' "sanctuary cities" law, opponents say they're down but not out

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