Grassroots Leadership In The News

Dec 6, 2017
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News 4 San Antonio

Group caravans to San Antonio to support asylum seeker facing deportation

"A group of immigration supporters are on their way home after trying to stop the deportation of a man seeking asylum.

They came to San Antonio on Wednesday to plead his case.

Around a couple dozen supporters braved the cold and the rain to voice their support for Alirio Gamez.

'As a community we should get to decide who is a part of our communities,' said Claudia Munoz, a supporter who traveled from Austin to San Antonio. 'That's the message we're bringing to ICE.'" Read more about Group caravans to San Antonio to support asylum seeker facing deportation

Dec 6, 2017
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Univison 41 San Antonio

Decenas de personas se reúnen en San Antonio para luchar contra la deportación de un inmigrante salvadoreño

"Los manifestantes llegaron a la oficina de ICE en San Antonio para pedir a los agentes de inmigración que frenen la deportación de Alirio Gámez, un inmigrante salvadoreño que está asilado en una iglesia de Austin desde el 5 de septiembre." Read more about Decenas de personas se reúnen en San Antonio para luchar contra la deportación de un inmigrante salvadoreño

Dec 6, 2017
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¡Ahora Sí!

Decenas de personas presentarán una petición para detener deportación

"Con mantas a ambos lados que decían 'compasión audaz y amor valeroso' y 'mantén Alirio a salvo', miembros religiosos y activistas anunciaron que irían en caravana para presentar una petición ante las autoridades de inmigración a favor de Alirio Gámez, quien pidió santuario en una de las iglesias de Austin.

'Le vamos a demostrar a ICE que hay una comunidad que me quiere y vamos a seguir en la lucha', dijo Gámez, oriundo de El Salvador, ante decenas de personas en la audiencia. 'Y sé que estoy donde van a seguir apoyándome'". Read more about Decenas de personas presentarán una petición para detener deportación

Dec 6, 2017
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Telemundo Austin

Piden detener la deportación de hombre que buscó santuario en iglesia de Austin

"El miércoles, cerca de 50 manifestantes de diferentes grupos cívicos del centro de Texas se reunieron en las oficinas de la Agencia de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE) en San Antonio para pedir un alto a la deportación de Alirio Gámez, un inmigrante salvadoreño refugiado en una iglesia de Austin.

'Ellos tienen todo el poder para parar la deportación de esta persona para que no sea deportado', dijo Alejandro Cáceres, representante de la organización Grassroots Leadership.

Según Alirio Gámez, huyó de su natal El Salvador porque su vida corría peligro: 'Esa es la razón por la que yo tomé santuario porque yo tengo derecho a seguir viviendo y para que nadie me pueda quitar la vida'. Read more about Piden detener la deportación de hombre que buscó santuario en iglesia de Austin

Dec 6, 2017
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Telemundo Austin

Inmigrante salvadoreño se refugia en una iglesia de Austin para no ser deportado

"Le estamos diciendo a ICE que respete mi derecho a la seguridad. El miércoles, le mostraremos a ICE nuestra fuerza en la unidad y esperamos tener una victoria en nuestras manos", dijo Alirio.

Una petición para detener su deportación ahora tiene más de 2,000 firmas. La Red de Sanctuary de Austin, Grassroots Leadership, y los legisladores estatales y municipales también han abogado por él. Read more about Inmigrante salvadoreño se refugia en una iglesia de Austin para no ser deportado

Dec 5, 2017
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Remezcla

Immigration Advocates Demand Answers After Sex Abuse Claims Surface Out of Texas Detention Center

"As people in different industries courageously share their stories, three women are drawing attention to the sexual abuse they have faced at an immigrant detention center in Texas. In a letter to immigration advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, Laura Monterrosa, a 23-year-old from El Salvador, detailed the abuse she endured at T. Don Hutto Residential Center. Immigration advocates in Austin are demanding answers from law enforcement about the allegations." Read more about Immigration Advocates Demand Answers After Sex Abuse Claims Surface Out of Texas Detention Center

Dec 5, 2017
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North Austin Patch

Advocates Call On Deportation Halt For Austin Asylum Seeker

"Dozens of immigrant advocates will gather on Wednesday in a rally calling for a stop on deportation proceedings against an asylum seeker taking sanctuary at an Austin church for the past few months.

The gathering is designed as a show of solidarity for Alirio Gámez, who has taken sanctuary inside the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover Ave., to avoid his deportation. An asylum seeker from El Salvador, Gámez was denied asylum in the United States after being in three detention centers and now faces deportation to certain harm in his country of origin, advocates said.

... 'We are going to demand that Alirio stay in the country and be granted a stay of removal,' added Alejandro Caceres, immigration organizer with Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based immigrant advocacy group. 'We have built a network that supports him and is enriched by him. Because of this, we also believe that ICE has no authority to come into our city and deport anyone from our community.'" Read more about Advocates Call On Deportation Halt For Austin Asylum Seeker

Dec 5, 2017
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Houston Chronicle

Caravan supports immigrant seeking church sanctuary in Austin

"It has been three months since Salvadoran immigrant Alirio Gámez claimed sanctuary from deportation by entering a north Austin church.

On Wednesday, Gámez will step out of the First Unitarian Universalist Church for the first time to ask for a deportation stay. Faith leaders and members of the Austin Sanctuary Network will then lead a caravan from Austin to San Antonio to file a stay of removal application and meet with ICE officials.

'We are telling ICE to respect my right to safety,' Gámez said in a press release. 'We are going to show ICE our strength in unity, and we expect to have a victory in our hands."' Read more about Caravan supports immigrant seeking church sanctuary in Austin

Dec 4, 2017
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Telemundo

Acusan de abuso sexual a personal del Centro de Detención de ICE en Hutto

Este lunes decenas de personas junto a activistas pro inmigrantes le exigieron respuestas al Alguacil del Condado Williamson, Robert Chody alegando que su oficina no ha tomado las riendas de la investigación en torno a las alegaciones de abuso sexual en el Centro de Detención T. Don Hutto en Taylor.

“Queremos saber cuál es el plan para proteger a las mujeres detenidas en Hutto y, en general, a todas las mujeres ya que ellos tienen la jurisdicción local de actuar”, indicó Claudia Muñoz, Directora de los Programas de Protección a los Inmigrantes de Grassroots Leadership. Read more about Acusan de abuso sexual a personal del Centro de Detención de ICE en Hutto

Dec 4, 2017
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Spectrum

FBI Investigating Detention Center Sexual Misconduct Claims

"Claudia Muñoz with the immigration rights advocacy group, Grassroots Leadership, says she has heard from several women who claim sexual misconduct by guards.

'We see an agency that is reckless, where there is no accountability,' she said. 'When there is an agency that can actually have accountability for them like Williamson County, they chose not to act and they take (ICE's) side."' Read more about FBI Investigating Detention Center Sexual Misconduct Claims

Dec 4, 2017
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KVUE

WilCo group seeking answers from sheriff's office on sex assault investigation

"Laura Monterrosa first spoke out Nov. 9, according to Grassroots Leadership. She said a guard sexually abused her.

'Since the day that I talked to investigators from the Sheriff’s Office and gave them all of my evidence I have not heard anything back from them,' she said in a press release from Grassroots Leadership. 'I expected Williamson County to treat the investigation differently than ICE, but up until now, they’re acting the same. I am still here inside detention and the guard still works here. I need justice.'

'She told us that there was a guard in there who was making sexual harassment comments to her,' Grassroots Leadership spokesperson Claudia Munoz said. 'He was just saying inappropriate things like we'll be together when you get out of here and he'd touch her legs and breasts when she was in the recreation center in very strategic areas where there were no cameras."' Read more about WilCo group seeking answers from sheriff's office on sex assault investigation

Dec 4, 2017
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KXAN

After sex abuse claims at T. Don Hutto detention facility, advocates want answers

"Grassroots Leadership, which works to end prison profiteering and reduce reliance on detention, claims the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office has jurisdiction over the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, but failed to act after a sexual abuse allegation by detainee Laura Monterrosa. Last month, Monterrosa spoke out, saying a guard at the facility had been abusing her since June." Read more about After sex abuse claims at T. Don Hutto detention facility, advocates want answers

Dec 4, 2017
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The Patch

Chody Blasted For Inaction On Detention Site Sexual Abuse Claims

"On Monday morning, advocates gathered outside his office to denounce his agency's failure to conduct an investigation after outcries of sexual assault from the Hutto detention center where women have filed formal complaints. The gathering comprised community members, volunteers with Grassroots Leadership's Hutto Visitation Program, and immigrant advocates concerned by sexual assault in detention, according to organizers.

[...] 'Laura has a whole community behind her asking for release because we know that women who are victims of sexual abuse should be believed, not retaliated against,' Claudia Muñoz, immigration programs director at Grassroots Leadership said." Read more about Chody Blasted For Inaction On Detention Site Sexual Abuse Claims

Dec 3, 2017
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Quando il carcere è un affare privato

Per altri invece non esiste un buon contratto, le prigioni private non devono esistere. "Sia la Cca che la Geo hanno un pessimo record, basano i propri profitti sulle sofferenze altrui, non c’è spazio per questo tipo di aziende", ha detto a Il Caffè il direttore dell’organizzazione Grassroots Leadership Bob Libal che si batte per l’abolizione delle prigioni private.
Sia la Geo che la Cca sono state contattate ma non hanno risposto alla nostra richiesta di un’intervista.
Qualche giorno fa, il 9 novembre, Grassroots Leadership ha ricevuto una lettera dal centro di detenzione per migranti T. Don Hutto a Taylor, in Texas. Una detenuta, Laura Monterrosa, ha scritto per denunciare un abuso sessuale subito da parte di due guardie. Il centro di detenzione in questione, che porta il nome del fondatore della Cca, è già stato al centro di scandali negli anni scorsi quando alcune guardie sono state accusate, e giudicate colpevoli, di violenza sessuale. Secondo l’organizzazione Grassroots Leadership, tra il 2010 e il 2016, il dipartimento di Homeland Security, l’agenzia che gestisce i centri di detenzione per migranti, ha indagato meno dell’un per cento delle 30mila denunce di abusi fisici e sessuali. Ora spetta allo sceriffo della contea di Williamson, Robert Chody, decidere se indagare sul caso di Monterrosa. Read more about Quando il carcere è un affare privato

Nov 29, 2017
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Texas Observer

How the Expiration of Austin’s Police Union Contract Could be a Rare Opportunity for Reform

"Austin is the latest city where activists have sought police reform by targeting collective bargaining agreements." See this article's publication of the video made by Grassroots Leadership staff member Lewis Conway Jr. showing the Austin Police Union President defend police brutality against Breaion King.

"Activists also argue that some of the proposed reforms are either useless or half-baked. For instance, the union agreed to adjust a rule that APD only has 180 days from the date of any alleged misconduct to investigate and discipline officers. Under that rule, the officer caught on dash-cam video body-slamming Breaion King, a young black elementary school teacher, to the pavement during a 2015 traffic stop wasn’t investigated because higher-ups didn’t know about the incident until after the 180-day window had passed." Read more about How the Expiration of Austin’s Police Union Contract Could be a Rare Opportunity for Reform

Nov 22, 2017
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Rewire

Texas Detention Center Faces Allegations of Widespread Sexual Abuse—Again (Updated)

"More women have made public allegations of sexual abuse at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas, after Laura Monterrosa came forward earlier this month with claims that a guard at the facility had sexually abused her over several months. Monterrosa continues to be detained at Hutto and says the guard is still employed at the facility.

Sofia Casini, the immigration programs coordinator at Grassroots Leadership, told Rewire what is happening inside of Hutto is an example of 'ongoing, persistent abuse of power.' 'You have to keep in mind that all of the women in Hutto are asylum seekers and many have experienced sexual assault. Not only is detention already inherently traumatizing, but now you have sexual assault survivors experiencing more abuse and being re-traumatized. These guards wield so much power over these women. It silences them, and it impacts their day-to-day emotional and psychological well-being,' Casini said." Read more about Texas Detention Center Faces Allegations of Widespread Sexual Abuse—Again (Updated)

Nov 22, 2017
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Spectrum

More Women Accuse Guards of Sexual Misconduct

"Two more women have accused guards at a Williamson County federal immigration detention center of sexual misconduct following another immigrant detainee’s recent accusation of being sexually assaulted at the Taylor facility.

'I want to be clear it's very much a jail,' said Claudia Muñoz of the immigration rights group, Grassroots Leadership." Read more about More Women Accuse Guards of Sexual Misconduct

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