Detention and the #EndTheQuota Campaign

On any given day, at least 34,000 people are detained in immigrant detention centers in the U.S. to meet an arbitrary lock-up quota dictated by Congress. Stopping the quota would be a giant step forward in ending our reliance on detention. Grassroots Leadership researches and exposes the role of for-profit prisons and their lobbyists in enacting the quota contributes to the growing national movement to stop immigrant detention.

 

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Victim of Sexual Abuse at the Hands of an Immigration Guard in Texas Attempts Suicide

AUSTIN — Laura, an immigrant woman from El Salvador, has been detained at the T. Don Hutto immigration detention center since May 2017. In November Laura came forward as a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a female CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) detention guard. The abuse was witnessed by other guards who worked in the same facility. Those officials were forced out when they attempted to come forward with information about another incident of sexual abuse in the facility. Read more about Victim of Sexual Abuse at the Hands of an Immigration Guard in Texas Attempts Suicide

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

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

¿Qué demonios está pasando dentro del centro de detención de Hutto?

Una carta proveniente del controversial centro de detención informa sobre nuevos casos de abuso sexual y  represalias en contra de las mujeres detenidas en el centro de inmigrantes cerca de Austin. El centro de detención T. Don Hutto, que encarcela a mujeres que buscan asilo, ha sido el centro de escándalos sobre abusos sexuales en el pasado. Un ex guardia incluso fue encarcelado por múltiples ataques.

Actualmente, una carta enviada por L.M. (las iniciales de la mujer) desde el interior del centro de detención Hutto describe las experiencias de agresión sexual y represalias de ella y otras mujeres. Ella también incluye los nombres de los guardias responsables de estos actos.

La instalación en Taylor, Texas, es operada para el Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE) por la compañía privada de prisiones conocida comúnmente como Corrections Corporation of America o CCA (que prefiere ser llamada por su nueva identidad corporativa "CoreCivic" para ocultar su tres décadas de larga historia). Los guardias en la instalación son empleados de la compañía de prisiones privadas.

La carta describe un patrón de agresión sexual que L.M. ha sufrido desde el mes de Junio. Ella escribe que una guardia femenina la forzó a realizar actos sexuales en contra de su voluntad. "Me acosaba, me decía palabras amenazantes y me obligaba a tener relaciones no deseadas con ella, lo que yo no quería, pero tenía que hacer lo que ella quería", describió. "Ella buscó y aprovechó cada momento que pudo para tocar mis pechos o mis piernas, ella  sabía dónde y cuándo hacerlo, no recuerdo las fechas exactas porque paso en muchas ocasiones. Ella trabaja en el área de recreación y lo que hizo conmigo lo hizo con otras residentes. Read more about ¿Qué demonios está pasando dentro del centro de detención de Hutto?

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?

Advocates hold Day of the Dead Remembrance for lives lost at the hands of our immigration system

(AUSTIN, Texas) —  On this year’s Day of the Dead, Thursday, November 2, community members and immigrant rights advocates will gather on the steps of the Austin City Hall to remember the lives lost from our community at the hands of our immigration system.

Pipelines to detention and deportation still exist in our local policies, from arrests made for minor offenses, the lack of a strong policy to limit the use of local law enforcement resources for federal immigration enforcement, to honoring constitutionally dubious ICE detainers at the county jail.  Community leaders gather Thursday to remember the lives lost and pledge to do more to protect others from the same deadly deportation pipeline. Read more about Advocates hold Day of the Dead Remembrance for lives lost at the hands of our immigration system

Sep 28, 2017
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Reveal

ICE issues plan to detain 1,000 more migrants in Texas

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is soliciting private-sector interest in a new detention center to hold 1,000 people in South Texas, according to a notice posted Wednesday on a federal contracting site.

The post is a preliminary request for information, asking for room to house men and women within 50 miles of I-35. ICE said its preference is for a facility dedicated to holding its detainees, but it would consider a large facility with inmates from another agency. The agency said it will consider pre-existing facilities, renovated old facilities or new construction.

The contract would mean more good news for the private prison industry, which has rebounded quickly under President Donald Trump. A year ago, the federal government seemed poised to end deals with the private prison industry’s biggest players, after federal inspectors noted safety concerns in their facilities.

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The new South Texas facility likely would be the largest since then, according to Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, a Texas-based nonprofit that tracks private prisons and advocates against expanding them.

“This would continue the trend of this administration’s giveaways to the private prison industry at the expense of immigrants that it’s targeting for deportation,” Libal said. The region already is home to many of ICE’s largest detention centers, in remote towns without easy access to legal help, he said.

“I would question the logic behind this,” he said, “because from what we’ve heard, for the most part, asylum-seeking folks, that population hasdeclined in the first few months, while internal apprehensions have increased.” Read more about ICE issues plan to detain 1,000 more migrants in Texas

Aug 9, 2017
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Ft. Worth Weekly

Back Into the Shadows

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Actually, there’s a lot to see: Donald Trump has made illegal immigration a central policy of his administration, and the changes that he is instituting are only going to make things worse, according to several people who work on behalf of illegal immigrants. Those changes include a harsh immigration crackdown with more jail time for detainees and rejecting asylum seekers. And the federal attitude is emboldening states to fire up their own harsher immigration laws, according to the accounts of more than a dozen organizations I contacted that are working on behalf of both illegal immigrants and asylum seekers.

One key change, according to those organizations, is that the Obama administration, which deported a record number of illegal immigrants, set the deportation priority on getting rid of people like Jiménez-Joseph, who had been convicted of a criminal felony. While Trump has said he will focus on those same convicted felons, he has actually made all illegal immigrants, from students to mothers of American kids, deportable. Additionally, some jail standards are being relaxed or ignored, worsening the living conditions of people in the deportation pipeline, and a whole lot more people are being detained because bonds for illegal immigrants have shot up. 

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Bethany Carson, an immigration policy researcher with Grassroots Leadership, an organization dedicated to eliminating private prisons, said it’s common practice since Trump took office: “There are so many asylum seekers turned away at the border that there are some immigrants’ rights organizations that are developing protocols that will allow them to accompany asylum seekers at the border to ensure that those seekers have their international rights, legal rights, protected.”

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“We are seeing asylum seekers denied bond even after their credible fear interviews are passed,” Carson said. “They now have to wait for a judge to give them a bond amount, instead of an immigration official like it used to be done. That meant less waiting time in detention prior to being released to await your court date. But we are also seeing higher bonds being asked, and those bonds have to be paid in full.” 

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“I think that is a direct result of the changes to the immigration court system based on the officials that Trump has selected,” Carson said. “These are a direct result of Trump’s position on immigration.”

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“We’ve already seen in words and actions how enforcement of detention and deportation has expanded in the last several months,” said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. “We were already at record levels of detained illegal immigrants with the Obama administration, but that is quickly expanding. Read more about Back Into the Shadows

Jul 27, 2017
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Telemundo

Programa ayuda a mujeres detenidas en centro de inmigración T. Don Hutto

La organización Grassroots Leadership coordina un programa de visitas al centro de inmigración T.Don. Hutto para visitar a mujeres indocumentadas detenidas.

La iniciativa comenzó en el 2009 con el propósito de ofrecer amistad y esperanza a las detenidas, al mismo tiempo que se cercioran que sus derechos no sean violados en el recinto.

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Como es el caso de la hondureña Jeymi Moncada quien paso un año en este centro tras cruzar la frontera de manera ilegal en el 2009.

“Me vine a Estados Unidos por una sola razón, porque sufría violencia doméstica en mi país por parte de mi ex pareja,” expresó Moncada.

Moncada dijo que esta iniciativa le devolvió la esperanza de reencontrarse con su familia cuando estaba detenida:” La verdad me ayudó mucho, platicamos de muchas cosas, qué cómo estaba, qué cómo nos trataban adentro”.

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Por lo pronto, se prepara para unirse al grupo de voluntarios que visitan a detenidas para ayudarlas de la misma forma que la ayudaron a ella. Read more about Programa ayuda a mujeres detenidas en centro de inmigración T. Don Hutto

Jul 18, 2017
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ColorLines

The Jail Where Sandra Bland Died Now Authorized to Detain Undocumented Immigrants

The Waller County (Texas) Jail was recently approved for Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 287(g) program—despite failing its Texas Commission on Jail Standards inspection.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reached an agreement with Waller County to deputize the sheriff’s office for the controversial immigration enforcement program 287(g). Theprogram authorizes deputies to act on the behalf of ICE to arrest and detain people based on their immigration status. In turn, county officials are given broad powers to jumpstart deportation proceedings for immigrants who otherwise wouldn’t have been on the radar of federal agents.

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The Waller County Jail was required to revamp its protocols and provide additional medical care in the wake of Bland’s death. Yet even after those reforms were implemented, major problems continued to persist.

The county jail came under investigation in March after a female prisoner alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a man who was also incarcerated in the jail. The man was performing cleaning duties for the jail at the time of the alleged incident. County officials later acknowledged that the inmate was never authorized to take on those duties in the first place.

The jail later failed its inspection with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, state documents show. Jail staff was found non-compliant in three separate areas, including violations for not keeping male and female inmates separate at all times, unless under direct supervision.

Within days of both the assault and the failed inspection, ICE officials formally approved Waller County’s application to join 287(g).

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Texas activists are now concerned that the program’s loaded background doesn’t help Waller County’s already strained relations between police and people of color. Despite all that the community has been through, particularly after Bland’s death, it’s unclear whether officials have learned their lesson, says Bob Libal, executive director of the Texas-based civil rights groupGrassroots Leadership.

“What 287(g) does is literally turn local police into deportation agents,” Libal added. “That’s obviously profoundly disturbing and certainly seeds distrust with law enforcement.” Read more about The Jail Where Sandra Bland Died Now Authorized to Detain Undocumented Immigrants

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