immigrant detention

Mar 20, 2018
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Mundo Hispánico

Liberan a Laura Monterrosa, la salvadoreña que reportó abuso sexual en centro de detención en Texas

"Grassroots Leadership la organización pro inmigrante que luchó por su liberación, informó a través de un comunicado que la mujer de 23 años salió de detención como resultado de una campaña de meses y de todo el apoyo que recibió." Read more about Liberan a Laura Monterrosa, la salvadoreña que reportó abuso sexual en centro de detención en Texas

Feb 27, 2018
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Mundo Hispánico

Liberan a Laura Monterrosa, la salvadoreña que reportó abuso sexual en centro de detención en Texas

"Representantes de Grassroots Leadership, hablaron en nombre de todas las mujeres que están detenidas en el centro Hutto, un total de 512, quienes según los ponentes, viven situaciones de abuso, violaciones a sus derechos y son explotadas laboralmente, y les exigen muchas horas de trabajo a cambio de una mínima remuneración económica." Read more about Liberan a Laura Monterrosa, la salvadoreña que reportó abuso sexual en centro de detención en Texas

BREAKING: Laura Monterrosa released from immigrant detention center in Texas

Community members line up to visit Laura Monterrosa at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas, on February 14, 2018.

AUSTIN — Laura Monterrosa was released from detention Friday evening.  Her release is the result of a months long campaign that drew support from around the country.

“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 BREAKING: Laura Monterrosa released from immigrant detention center in Texas

We demand the immediate release of Laura Monterrosa, victim of sexual abuse at the Hutto Detention Center

**Español abajo**

Yesterday, two women joined Laura Monterrosa in speaking out about sexual abuse at the Don T. Hutto Detention Center.  One of the women, Ana*,  said that she filed a report against the guard who harassed and in return, she was moved to Laredo as an act of retaliation.  Both, Laura and Ana’s abusers are still employed at Hutto and as a result, Laura is facing increased retaliation and alienation from CoreCivic officials. Laura’s decision to speak out could have a major impact for all women detained at Hutto, but for that to happen she needs your help.

TAKE ACTION: “I demand that Laura is released immediately, she is a victim and should not be punished for speaking out!”


Ayer, dos mujeres se unieron a Laura Monterrosa para hablar sobre el abuso sexual en el Centro de Detención Don T. Hutto. Una de las mujeres, Ana *, dijo que presentó un informe contra el guardia que hostigaba y, a cambio, la trasladaron a Laredo como un acto de represalia. Ambos, los abusadores de Laura y Ana todavía están empleados en Hutto y como resultado, Laura enfrenta una mayor represalia y alienación por parte de los funcionarios de CoreCivic. La decisión de Laura de hablar abiertamente podría tener un gran impacto para todas las mujeres detenidas en Hutto, pero para que eso suceda necesita su ayuda.

ACTÚE: "Exijo que Laura sea liberada inmediatamente, ¡ella es una víctima y no debería ser castigada por hablar!" Read more about We demand the immediate release of Laura Monterrosa, victim of sexual abuse at the Hutto Detention Center

BREAKING: More women join Laura Monterrosa in speaking out about sexual abuse by guards at Hutto immigrant detention center

(AUSTIN, Texas) — This week, two additional women joined Laura Monterrosa in speaking out about sexual abuse at Hutto. One woman currently detained in Laredo, “Ana”, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of further retaliation said in a visit with Grassroots Leadership staff: Read more about BREAKING: More women join Laura Monterrosa in speaking out about sexual abuse by guards at Hutto immigrant detention center

Courageous woman, Laura Monterrosa, speaks out on sexual assaults at Hutto immigrant detention center

AUSTIN — A letter received by advocates at Grassroots Leadership last week from inside the Hutto immigrant detention center describes sexual assaults against two women at the T. Don Hutto immigrant detention center in Taylor, Texas and names two different guards as perpetrators. Laura Monterrosa describes a pattern of sexual assault at Hutto that she has endured since June. Read more about Courageous woman, Laura Monterrosa, speaks out on sexual assaults at Hutto immigrant detention center

What the hell is going on inside the Hutto detention center?

A letter from inside a controversial detention center contains new reports of sexual assault and retaliation against women detained in an immigrant detention center near Austin. The T. Don Hutto detention center, which imprisons asylum-seeking women, has been at the center of sexual assault scandals before.  One former guard was even incarcerated for multiple assaults.

Now, a letter sent by L.M. (the woman’s initials) from inside the Hutto detention center describes her and others’ experiences of sexual assault and retaliation and names two guards as perpetrators. The facility in Taylor, Texas, is operated for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the private prison company commonly known as Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, (which prefers to be called by its new corporate identity “CoreCivic” to obscure their three-decades long history). Guards at the facility are employees of the private prison company.

The letter describes a pattern of sexual assault that L.M. has endured since June. She writes that a female guard forced her into sexual acts against her will. “She harassed me, telling me threatening words and forcing me to have unwanted relations with her, which I did not want, but I had to do what she wanted,” she described. “She looked for or took advantage of every moment she could to touch my breasts or my legs, she knew where and when she did it, I don't remember dates because there are many. She worked in the recreation area and what she did with me she did with other residents.” Read more about What the hell is going on inside the Hutto detention center?

Diabetic woman detained at Hutto in urgent need of emergency care for improper treatment: Attorney’s request for medical release was denied this morning

(Austin, Texas) —  Yesterday Austin advocates launched a campaign demanding the release of Brenda Menjivar Guardado, a young woman from El Salvador who is experiencing serious symptoms related to improper treatment of diabetes by medical staff at the Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas. Read more about Diabetic woman detained at Hutto in urgent need of emergency care for improper treatment: Attorney’s request for medical release was denied this morning

Apr 14, 2017
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The Texas Tribune

Trump greenlights a new immigrant-detention center in Texas

A private-prison company that has for years been in the crosshairs of immigrant rights groups announced Thursday it will build a $110 million detention complex in the Houston metro area.

The Florida-based GEO Group said in a news release its new facility will be built in the city of Conroe as part of a 10-year, renewable contract with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The detention center will be finished toward the end of 2018, the company said. The Associated Press first reported the story.

Immigrant advocacy groups said the move signals the beginning of President Trump’s efforts to expand detentions and begin fast-tracking the deportations of millions of undocumented immigrants in the country. Part of the president's Jan. 25 executive order on immigration instructed the Department of Homeland Security to increase bed space for undocumented immigrants subject to removal. 

“We’re not surprised, but we are deeply disappointed that the administration is not only lining the pockets of the private-prison industry but expanding detention,” said Bob Libal, the executive director for Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based immigrant rights and private-prison watchdog group.

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The new facility will add to the GEO Group’s heavy presence in Texas. The company’s website lists more than a dozen facilities it operates in the state. They range from smaller local jails used mainly by the U.S. Marshals Service to larger immigration-detention complexes near the border.

GEO Group was involved in a lengthy legal battle last year after Grassroots Leadership filed a lawsuit to prevent the company’s Karnes City facility from being licensed as a child-care facility by state officials. The center houses hundreds of women and children that were part of the surge of undocumented immigrants from Central America who began arriving to Texas in record numbers four years ago.

The child-care facility licensing has been necessary since 2015, when U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ordered that immigrants held in Texas and elsewhere should be released because their detention violates the provisions of a 1997 settlement — the Flores v. Meese agreement — that requires undocumented juveniles be held in facilities that protect their health and safety.

A state district judge denied the state the ability to issue the licenses, but the facility continues to operate as a temporary processing center, Libal said. Read more about Trump greenlights a new immigrant-detention center in Texas

Apr 4, 2017
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Critics say lawmakers are trying to license 'little jails' to hold immigrant families

The state calls them family residential centers. Opponents have called them  “prisons for profit” and “little jails.”

On Wednesday, committees in both legislative chambers will address bills that would allow the Department of Family and Protective Services to license Texas facilities that house unauthorized mothers and children while they await their immigration hearings.

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In July 2015, a federal judge ruled that children can live in detention centers only if the centers are licensed by state child welfare agencies. Karnes and the South Texas facility, which is southwest of San Antonio, weren't licensed and faced closure.

To keep them from shuttering, in February 2016 the Department of Family and Protective Services gave itself the authority to license the facilities. Keeping them open helps the state deal with immigration control. But a state district court in December blocked Texas from issuing the licenses.

Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, author of the Senate bill, said in a meeting of the committee on Veteran Affairs and Border Security last week that his proposal was meant to address the court ruling. Lawmakers on the committee are expected to vote on the bill Wednesday, while members of the House State Affairs committee will hear testimony on an identical bill by Rep. John Raney, R-College Station.

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Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, which brought the suit that halted the licensing of the centers, said immigrants have in the past been released to family members in the country after being issued notices to appear in court for their immigration hearings.

Most of these families are asylum seekers, Libal said, so they're not flight risks because there's an incentive for them to return to court and keep in contact with immigration officials. He said that family residential centers are not the only option and that his group would oppose the legislation to license them.

“There’s a whole range [of alternatives] that are less harsh than detaining families,” he said. Read more about Critics say lawmakers are trying to license 'little jails' to hold immigrant families

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