Austin Council Members Send Letter to ICE Requesting Access for Public Officials to Visit Woman at T. Don Hutto after a Council Member is denied entry

February 23, 2018

Council Members Casar, Garza and Renteria Call for Laura Monterrosa’s immediate release

AUSTIN — Today, Austin City Council Members Greg Casar, Delia Garza, and Sabino “Pio” Renteria sent a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement requesting ICE allow public officials access to the T. Don Hutto detention center to visit with Laura Monterrosa after Austin City Council Member Greg Casar was refused a visit with Ms. Monterrosa on Tuesday, February 20th.

Monterrosa, an immigrant woman who has been detained at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center for 9 months, has spoken out about her sexual assault by a guard inside the facilityand has faced solitary confinement and threats from officials if she does not retract her testimony. She has already made an attempt on her life and remains suicidal.

The letter expresses freedom of speech and transparency concerns due to ICE refusing a visit to public officials and calls for Ms. Monterrosa’s immediate release.

“To bar officials from entering a detention center because they represent the public, or because they may speak to the media about what they see, raises dire questions about freedom of speech and the transparency of these facilities,” an excerpt of the letter reads. “We are deeply concerned that continued detention will be harmful for Ms. Monterrosa’s health and call on you to release her immediately from detention.”

Read the full letter here.

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Grassroots Leadership is an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works for a more just society where prison profiteering, mass incarceration, deportation and criminalization are things of the past.