#EllaHabla

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 27, 2018
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Salon

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." Read more about Asylum seeker held by ICE says she was sexually abused, now faces retaliation

Mar 2, 2018
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Associated Press

Immigrant detainee who alleged abuse sues for release

"In a 10-page complaint filed in federal court in Austin late Friday, Laura Monterrosa’s attorneys alleged that a psychiatrist at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, near Austin, didn’t evaluate Monterrosa fully. Consequently, the attorneys assert Monterrosa isn’t being treated adequately for her diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder." Read more about Immigrant detainee who alleged abuse sues for release

Mar 2, 2018
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Oxygen

Why the Private Prison Industry Is Winning This Presidency

"'I didn’t come here because I wanted to,' says Laura Monterrosa, an El Salvadoran detainee at the Texas immigration detention center, who reportedly remains suicidal after a female guard allegedly assaulted her for four months. Monterrosa came to the US after sustaining abuse in El Salvador for being gay. She was put in solitary confinement in Februarybecause the facility does not have separate rooms for 'segregation purposes.' Monterrosa is detained at the for-profit T. Don Hutto Detention Facility, a drive from Austin, Texas. Monterrosa, who has allegedly attempted suicide at least three times, was also reportedly denied therapy. She is not the first person to speak up about the conditions at T. Don Hutto." Read more about Why the Private Prison Industry Is Winning This Presidency

Feb 26, 2018
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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." Read more about Texas Congressmen Ask For Immigrant Detention Center Probe

Feb 26, 2018
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ShadowProof

Prison Contractor Blocks Austin Politician From Visiting Detained Immigrant Who Alleged Sexual Abuse by Guard

“If what ICE calls ‘medical care’ is 60 hours in solitary confinement in a tiny, freezing, smelly room in the booking area, that speaks for itself as to why Laura’s life is in danger as long as she remains detained,” said Bethany Carson, an immigration researcher and organizer at the immigrant rights group, Grassroots Leadership.

“To expect that a survivor of sexual abuse by a CoreCivic guard could trust psychologists and medical staff who wear the same uniform as her abuser is ludicrous, and their refusal of outside mental health care is a blatant violation of PREA. It’s clear that ICE will go to any extreme to cover up this abuse.”

According to Carson’s organization, Monterrosa’s health is at a “crisis level,” describing her as “frequently vomiting and unable to eat for several days.”

Grassroots Leadership staff called the police on February 18 after Monterrosa said she felt suicidal. The Taylor Police Department conducted a welfare check at the prison but told the group they have “no oversight over the care she receives” and “could not intercede to allow her to speak with an outside mental health professional.” Read more about Prison Contractor Blocks Austin Politician From Visiting Detained Immigrant Who Alleged Sexual Abuse by Guard

Feb 26, 2018
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Newsweek

Sexual Abuse Allegations At Texas Immigrant Detention Center Prompt Democrat Calls for Investigation

"After Monterrosa made public claims that she endured repeated sexual assault at T. Don Hutto Detention Facility, which is run by a for-profit prison company around 30 miles outside of Austin, she was scheduled for a disciplinary hearing for not eating for over a week. According to Grassroots Leadership, the organization advocating for Monterrosa, she'd stopped going to the cafeteria for fear of facing her alleged abuser there.

Before she could attend the hearing, however, she attempted suicide for the first time and was later placed in solitary confinement and barred from seeing her attorneys. Over the last month, activists say she's experienced an onslaught of retaliation tactics, culminating in 60 additional hours of solitary confinement, coercion to recant her accusations and two more suicide attempts." Read more about Sexual Abuse Allegations At Texas Immigrant Detention Center Prompt Democrat Calls for Investigation

Feb 26, 2018
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Remezcla

These Harrowing Stories Shed Light on the Rampant Sexual Abuse in Immigrant Detention Centers

"On January 12, Laura Monterrosa – an immigrant from El Salvador detained at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center – attempted to take her own life. Detained in May 2017, Laura reports that a guard began to sexually abuse her in June.

Following the rise of #MeToo – a hashtag victims of predatory behaviors have used to talk about their experiences – Monterrosa courageously came forward with her story. But days after she shed light on the harassment, ICE said her claims were 'unsubstantiated.' Not only was her story dismissed, but she also had to continue seeing her abuser. With no on putting an end to this, Laura took 51 pain pills, attempting to commit suicide.

After returning from the hospital, officials placed her in solitary confinement for 60 hours – an ICE order many believe is retaliatory. There’s also reports that the detention center used isolation as a way to get her to recant her story. In the weeks since her story went viral and put a bigger spotlight on the many ways immigration detention centers treat detainees as dispensable, she remains suicidal. Laura has not received the mental and physical attention she desperately needs.

People on the outside are fighting for her as she struggles on the inside. Grassroots Leadership provides crucial information about her case, and activists have come together to demand her prompt release." Read more about These Harrowing Stories Shed Light on the Rampant Sexual Abuse in Immigrant Detention Centers

Feb 26, 2018
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AP

US Reps: ICE Should Review Sexual Abuse Cases In Detention

"More than 40 congressmen have signed a letter calling on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to investigate its handling of sexual assault reports in its detention facilities.

The letter released Monday is based on the case of Laura Monterrosa, a detainee at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Central Texas. The FBI is investigating her allegation that a female guard assaulted her.

U.S. Reps. Joaquin Castro and Lloyd Doggett, both Democrats, wrote that they were concerned about the 'prevalence of reports of sexual assault and abuse' in Texas immigration facilities.

The advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, which is working with Monterrosa, says detention center employees are pressuring her to recant her allegations. ICE says it 'fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference.”' Read more about US Reps: ICE Should Review Sexual Abuse Cases In Detention

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