Texas

Apr 24, 2018
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Community Impact News

After one year, fair chance hiring ordinance leaves room for improvement

"Lewis Conway Jr., criminal justice organizer at the Austin nonprofit Grassroots Leadership, said that this campaign has been inadequate.

He pointed to the video, which was posted on YouTube in February 2017 and as of April 2 had been viewed 212 times.

Conway, who served eight years in prison and 12 on parole for voluntary manslaughter, campaigned on behalf of the ordinance.

'As a formerly incarcerated person, employment was probably the most important thing in my life, especially when it’s a condition of parole,' he said.

...“This [ordinance] is an opportunity to put people back into the cycle of life,” Conway said." Read more about After one year, fair chance hiring ordinance leaves room for improvement

Apr 26, 2018
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Huffington Post

Jeff Sessions Wants To Make The Justice Department More Like ICE

"But others who work within the system see Sessions’ efforts to double down on immigration enforcement as a strain on the limited resources of federal judiciary. The cost to prosecute people whom Border Patrol or ICE would likely deport anyway topped $1 billion annually for incarceration alone, according to a 2012 analysis published by Austin-based advocacy group Grassroots leadership. That figure doesn’t include all the other resources that DOJ has to muster to make these cases happen: judges, public defenders, prosecutors and U.S. Marshals." Read more about Jeff Sessions Wants To Make The Justice Department More Like ICE

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

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

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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