Apr 13, 2018
Austin American-Statesman

GIVING CITY: $750,000 in funding cut for immigrant legal assistance

"The effective elimination of the legal orientation program further isolates people already living in geographically remote detention centers, a situation that concerns Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership.

'Further restricting access to these facilities and isolating people in detention does grave harm to the interest of justice and to individuals,' he said. He said Grassroots Leadership’s regular visits to detainees at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Taylor led to an FBI investigation of sexual assault claims at the center." [node:read-more:link]

Feb 27, 2018

Asylum seeker held by ICE says she was sexually abused, now faces retaliation

"Bethany Carson, an immigration policy researcher for Grassroots Leadership, told Salon that after Monterrosa wrote the letter, things got worse for her. Carson described an escalating series of tactics — especially the use of solitary confinement — that she believed were meant to intimidate Monterrosa into retracting her accusations against the guard, which Monterrosa hasn't done. Carson also says Monterrosa has been subjected to ongoing interactions with her alleged abuser, which has led to Monterrosa hiding in her room, refusing food and feeling afraid to walk around the facility for fear of confrontation.

In January, Carson said, Monterrosa 'called me and told me that she had taken over 50 pills, mostly pain medication.' Carson then described a series of intense phone calls with officials as she tried, from outside, to get help. Officials at the facility ultimately intervened to saved Monterrosa's life, Carson said." [node:read-more:link]

Feb 27, 2018
Splinter News

The Supreme Court's Ruling on Immigrant Detention Is a Huge Win for Private Prisons

"Two for-profit prison companies—the GEO Group and CoreCivic (formerly the Corrections Corporation of America) hold 72 percent of privately contracted immigration detention beds, according to a 2015 report from Grassroots Leadership, a non-profit whose mission is to shut down for-profit prison facilities. Both have seen their profits spike under Donald Trump’s presidency. And they could continue to benefit even more: Trump’s 2018 budget plan requested an increase in the number of available immigrant detention beds to over 48,000." [node:read-more:link]

Feb 26, 2018
The Patch

Texas Congressmen Ask For Immigrant Detention Center Probe

"Austin-based Grassroots Leadership, an group advocating for immigrants, has long called attention to conditions at the Taylor detention center. More recently, they have risen awareness of the plight of Monterrosa, whose health has declined since being forced into solitary confinement after making her outcry that has prompted her to attempt suicide, advocates have reported." [node:read-more:link]

Feb 23, 2018
Austin American-Statesman

Lawsuit: Taylor facility forces detainees to work for little or no pay

"A class-action lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday argues that a company that manages immigrant detention centers — including the T. Don Hutto Center in Taylor — is violating the federal Trafficking Victims and Protection Act by forcing labor on those in the center.

...The T. Don Hutto center has been in the spotlight recently after Austin-based activist group Grassroots Leadership said it received letters from three women accusing guards at the detention center of sexual misconduct. One of those women is Laura Monterrosa, who has said she was sexually assaulted by a female guard." [node:read-more:link]

More than 45 Congressional Representatives Call for Investigation Into Sexual Abuse at T. Don Hutto Immigrant Detention Center

AUSTIN — Today, more than 45 Congressional representatives, led by Representative Lloyd Doggett and Joaquin Castro from Texas, sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, calling for an investigation into the treatment of sexual abuse allegations at Texas detention centers and an expedited audit to assess compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center. [node:read-more:link]

Feb 21, 2018
Patriot Not Partisan

Suffering in Silence: Sexual Abuse in Immigrant Detention Centers

"On Wednesday, Feb. 14, a group of about 50 people gathered outside the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, to protest the isolation of one Laura Monterrosa, a young asylum seeker who has been convicted of no crimes. Though her solitary confinement was temporary, her story is far from over, and it is part of a larger pattern of abuse and silencing to which activists are hoping to draw attention." [node:read-more:link]

Feb 20, 2018

WilCo group demands action from county commissioners on sex assault investigation

"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."' [node:read-more:link]

Feb 20, 2018
The Week


"In fact, as usual with this thundering law-and-order administration, ICE is also lousy with criminals. Its top lawyer in Seattle has been charged with stealing seven immigrants' identities. The agency typically stuffs the people they round up into hellish dungeons where sexual assault is rampant. One asylum seeker, Laura Monterrosa, who alleges she was repeatedly raped by her jailers in an ICE facility, said she was tortured with solitary confinement over speaking up. She was told she would not be released until she recanted her testimony.

Let's just get rid of this rotten organization." [node:read-more:link]


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